The July 8 protests spearheaded by young Egyptian leftists to demand accountability and transparency were rewarded Wednesday by publicly broadcast trial proceedings against former president Hosni Mubarak, his two sons, and several associates.
The sight of Mubarak, on a hospital bed in the in-court cage where the accused are kept during the proceedings, was electrifying to the Egyptian public. His son Gamal looked bored at points. One Egyptian activist tweeted, ‘what’s the matter, Jimmy, are we wasting your time?” The Mubaraks are accused of authorizing the killing of some 900 persons during this year’s revolution and of looting the country.
The decision to make it a civilian trial gave Mubarak more justice than he gave the 4000 persons he had tried in military courts. He faces both criminal charges and civil suits from families whose sons he is accused of having killed.
So the Egyptians may get some justice. In contrast to Americans, who will never see George W. Bush tried for torture and other violations of US and international law.
What with their lively popular revolutions, the Arabs may have something to teach us now about accountability, transparency and democracy.