The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

The trial of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, which began Wednesday in Cairo, will send a strong signal to the rest of the world about the strength of Egypt’s new government. Many view the trials, which are being broadcast throughout the region, as an opportunity for Egypt to take a step toward open democracy and away from the legacy of Mubarak’s authoritarian justice system.

[Mubarak’s trial] was, in the words of pastry shop owner Saif Mahmoud in Baghdad, a “rewriting of the rules between the region’s people and their leaders”.

Palestinian Salah Abu Samera, 29, saw emerging democracy.

“It’s unusual in the Arab world,” he said, in the West Bank city of Ramallah. “This is the first time we see a leader in a real court. This is good for democracy, good for the future. We’ve always heard of leaders on trial in Israel, in Turkey, in the U.S., or Europe. But this is the first time in the Arab world.”

Another Palestinian, retiree Mohammed Adnan, 64, described Mubarak’s trial as a “huge move” for the region. He said the longtime Egyptian strongman never would have treated his people as he did had he headed a democratic country and knew he would be held accountable for his actions.”

If Mubarak’s trial goes smoothly, it will send a strong message to the region and to the world that the successes of Egypt’s revolution did not end with Mubarak’s removal from power.

With great opportunity also comes great risk. There are legitimate questions regarding the strength of Egypt’s legal institutions, and the chaos surrounding the first day of the trial has done nothing to assuage fears that Egypt’s judicial system cannot handle such a high profile case. About 53 people were injured in riots outside the courthouse, and inside the courtroom confusion often reigned (highlighted by a bizarre moment in which a lawyer speaking on behalf of Mubarak’s victims claimed that the former President has been dead for 7 years, and that the man standing trial today is an imposter).

The Egyptian revolution has inspired similar uprisings across the region, and pro-democracy advocates are watching the outcome of Mubarak’s trial with great interest. If Egypt is unable to prosecute Mubarak with a fair trial, it could strike a serious psychological blow to other democratic movements. It could also greatly undermine the legitimacy of Egypt’s young government.

Nobody can be sure how the Egyptian justice system will perform in the upcoming months; the only certainty is that the entire world will be watching.

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

When COVID-19 was overwhelming New York City hospitals during the 2020 spring, a silly talking point in right-wing media was that residents of red states didn't need to worry about the pandemic because it only posed a threat to Democratic areas. But COVID-19, just as health experts predicted, found its way to red states in a brutal way. And the current COVID-19 surge is especially severe in red states that have lower vaccination rates. Journalist David Leonhardt, in an article published by the New York Times this week, examines a disturbing pattern: red states where residents are more likely to be anti-vaxxers and more likely to be infected with COVID-19 and die from it.

Keep reading... Show less

Gov. Doug Ducey with Senate President Karen Fann and former President Donald Trump

The Republican-led Arizona election audit found that President Joe Biden actually won by a slightly wider margin than initially reported, but Trump supporters are still demanding that the election results be overturned.

In fact, according to, the demands have increased since the audit results were made public. Arizona's Republican Gov. Doug Ducey reportedly received approximately 300 emails a day on Saturday and Sunday demanding that he decertify the state's results for the 2020 presidential election.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ }}