Posted by on April 13, 2011 in Blog

As I had noted at the time, the fall of Mubarak had been beyond plausible imagination for most people in the region, and has commenced a new era of popular empowerment in which young people throughout the region feel capable and committed to playing a meaningful role in shaping their political future. From the ruling standpoint, the fall of Mubarak heightened the sense of vulnerability for all authoritarian regimes that were subsequently compelled to offer far-reaching economic, social, and political perks to placate their discontent masses. The sense that political realities were unalterable was been completely shattered for both the governments of the region and its people.

With the announcement that Mubarak and his two sons are now detained for questioning on charges of corruption and violence against peaceful demonstrators, the sense of vulnerability among the regimes has ceased to be purely political and has now become personal. Case in point was the report that suggested Mubarak may have suffered a heart attack during his questioning, and had to be hospitalized (which is where he currently is).  Regardless of whether it was a full-fledged heart attack or just heart problems, the obvious implication is that being reduced from an unquestionable authority to a detained suspect under interrogation was too much for him to handle.

It is indeed a positive development that it is not only the political reality that has proven to be malleable, but that the leaders of reigning political structures have also been reduced to their human form. Yet, that very vulnerability of individual leaders, and the fear of being held accountable once deposed, may make them all the more determined to hold on to power no matter the sacrifices in political interest, public image, or blood (think Qaddafi and the ICC). One is left to grapple with the morally complicated question of whether or not granting amnesty to such leaders in order to more smoothly usher in the new era of freedom and progress is preferable to insisting on holding ousted leaders accountable for whatever transgressions they had committed. It is a choice between accountability and redress for past victims on one hand, and the possible faster ending of ongoing bloodshed on the other.

comments powered by Disqus