Diary of Aak, week13: The Kaboos

Bassem Youssef

TV host Bassem Youssef arrives at high court on Sunday  (Photo: Ahram)

Main Headlines








A Few Thoughts

Egypt lives a surreal nightmare, or kaboos in Arabic, full of random fights, meaningless chaos, foreign fingers, saboteurs, two public prosecutors, and satire that “allegedly” went badly wrong.

Mr. PP:

The Cairo Court of Cassation ruling on Wednesday annulled the presidential decree appointing Talaat Abdallah as Egypt’s public prosecutor (PP). Like many previous verdicts, it was mired with ambiguity, and has created much angry debate about the many questions that arose after the verdict. Should Abdallah leave and appeal, or stay and appeal? Should the ex-prosecutor return or not?

Ironically, no one asked similar questions when Mubarak was sentenced to jail, and in fact, everyone expected him to go to jail, and appeal later. It is simply called common sense, but Egypt lost its common sense, and is now divided between supporters and opponents who are trying to find anything within the legal loopholes to justify their political stances, and it is not a new development, but it is getting sillier and frankly sickening, particularly when the same prosecutor, with legitimacy in dispute, has continued to issue several arrest warrants for various activists, solicitors, and journalists. Mr. PP is one of the main players in our kaboos, with his performance that is full of audacious defiance and abuse of the law. The Brotherhood are not governing Egypt, they are just desperate to prove that they are in control.

 Bassem Youssef

Welcome to Egypt’s flawed, subjective constitution. Here is article 31: “Insulting, or showing contempt to any human being is prohibited.”

I guess we should look at the bright side; Egypt is 15000 Egyptian pounds richer ($2,190) after Bassem Youssef’s bail, however Egypt has lost the respect of the 1Millions Twitter followers, 2 Millions Facebook fans, and 20 million YouTube viewers of Bassem Youssef.

A closer look at the details of the Bassem Youssef case could shed some light at the dark side of Egypt justice system: The prosecutor office has “allegedly” summoned Youssef last week, but Egypt’s most famous public figure, whom his address cannot be missed has denied in a TV interview that he received anything.  This is the oldest trick in the Egyptian legal system; alleged miss of the summons, followed by arrest warrant. Regardless, Bassem arrived at the prosecutor’s office donned in an oversize academic hat mocking one, which Mr Morsi wore recently when he received an honorary doctorate in Pakistan. The defiance of Bassem Youssef, it seems, did not go well, the mood has changed after initial welcome by lawyers and policemen at the office who wanted their picture taken with him, according to al-Misri al-Youm news portal, the judge asked him to remove his tweets written during the questioning, and released him on bail for 3 legal cases, and a fourth one is still ongoing. The real crime of Bassem Youssef is not insulting President Morsi, or denigrating Islam, but his ability to challenge old attitudes and mindsets. His arrest warrant is, in my opinion, a form of legal bullying, and as Abdullah Kamal wrote: “It is a sign of a regime in quandary.”

If I had one bit advice to offer President Morsi, I would recommend that he appear on the Bassem Youssef show, Al-Bernameg, as it would probably be the smartest move he can make to win the heart and minds of all Egyptians.

 Autumn Election?

According to president Morsi, the parliamentary election could possibly be next October. In other words, we are heading for a spring and summer of Molotov cocktails, burning, and lynching. Can Egypt tolerate more violence? The answer is no, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the violence will stop. The political deadlock, the stubbornness of the leadership, the weakness of the main opposition will continue to breed new groups that will commit to various acts of violence. In Egypt, there is no need for a crystal ball to predict future ugliness; the debate is just about how ugly it will be.

 The mystery of the undersea cable:

As Christopher Dickey  wrote, maybe the three scuba divers were just idiots. Or spies. Or saboteurs. It is hard to tell. Although the incident highlights how vulnerable global communications are, it also highlights the foggy scene in Egypt, where reliable independent news is in short supply. Looking at the photo of the three divers, they look like any poor Egyptian fishermen, not spies or saboteurs. They have all denied the charges, and the whole case will probably be forgotten in a day or two. It’s likely that the truth will never be known. This is the core reason behind our problems; we indulge in myths, rather than a pursuit of facts. Meanwhile, I strongly recommend this piece by Daniel Nisman.

 Sheik Mazhar Shaheen:

It is not all doom and gloom in Egypt, as long as there are people like Sheik Shaheen. He is the true face of Egypt, a peaceful, tolerant country that continues to fight hard against those who are undermining its spirit and identity. I have only one word for this honorable Imam: respect.

 Good Read

Finally, here are Jayson Casper prayers for Egypt

Happy Easter and Happy Passover 

About nervana111

Doctor, blogger and Commentator on Middle East issues. The only practising doctor who write in Middle Eastern politics in UK.
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