Disappointing judgment day for Mubarak
Arabic media review

Disappointing judgment day for Mubarak

Egypt's former dictator sentenced to life, Palestinian youths suffer exam-day jitters, and the remarkable traits of rosewater

Image capture from Egyptian state television of Judge Ahmed Rifaat handing down former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak's life sentence.
Image capture from Egyptian state television of Judge Ahmed Rifaat handing down former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak's life sentence.

Yesterday the Cairo Criminal Court handed former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak a life sentence for being an “accomplice in the murder of civilians.” Dubbed by Saudi Arabia’s Al Arabiya as the “Trial of the century,” Mubarak’s former security chiefs and his two sons Alaa and Gamal were acquitted of all charges. The Arab press today focuses on the legitimacy of the ruling, and debates the integrity of the court and the military.

Al Hayat’s front-page article today reads “Mubarak and his two sons escape the gallows.” One of Egypt’s leading papers, Al Masry Al Youm, writes that the “last pharaoh of Egypt” was “subjected to the rule of law after the popular revolution,” amid “unprecedented security at the Police Academy headquarters, which formally bore the name Mubarak headquarters.”

Egypt’s most popular newspaper, Al Ahram, notes that the “historic world event was covered minute-by-minute by the international media,” noting that the significant decision has “divided the Arab world.”

Qatar’s Al Jazeera focuses on Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate Mohammed Morsi in a lead article headlined “Mohammed Morsi promises punishment.” The story notes that his party, the Freedom and Justice Party, expressed “shock” after the announcement and promised to “complete the march of the revolution and to demolish the state of the old system.”

Editor of the liberal Egyptian daily Youm7 also criticizes the trial as being unjust, calling out rhetorically to a famous historical Arab leader and judge, “Oh Umar bin al Khattab, Where are you sir, where are you fairest of judges?”

UK-based Al Quds leads with an op-ed by Abdul Bari Atwan entitled “Mubarak’s Trial: Egypt the great.” He calls the trial “one of the greatest achievements of the Arab revolution,” and further praises the etiquette of the people, saying “the Egyptian people… did not lash out for revenge, offend his body… or spit on him.” Such a just ruling he says, stems from “noble values and ideals derived from a long history of moral heritage and civilization, tolerance, and faith…”

While Atwan slams Mubarak’s oppression, he praises his personal character in this particular instance, noting that “we must recognize that President Mubarak… did not run away like others. He and his family remained… and he said he wanted to die and be buried in the soil of his own country.”

Another piece in Palestinian paper Al Quds Al Arabi focuses on a different personal element of Mubarak’s life; — his diet. His chef reveals that Mubarak’s diet consists of “eggs, beans, and yogurt for breakfast, shrimp for lunch, and fava beans for dinner.” The menu of Mubarak’s dog is also listed as “soup, vegetables, chicken, honey, and bottled mineral water.”

Education and opportunities abroad

An article in Al Arabiya today highlights economic conditions in Morocco and the effect it has on both advanced professionals and unskilled youth. The article, entitled “Moroccan youth dream of opportunities in Canada and France,” reports that a study conducted by Employment.com concluded that “86 percent of Moroccan youth are willing to work outside the country to gain new knowledge, refine their skills, increase their experiences and also improve their standard of living.”

The article notes that “according to some studies, Morocco is ranked first in [its level of] brain drain outside the country… Arab states annually lose 50% of their doctors, 32% of their engineers, and 15% of their research and scientific engineer specialists.”

While the article cites poor working conditions in some industries and corruption as the main factors motivating Moroccans to leave, it points out that promises from outside the Arab world are not always met. One student who studied abroad is cited saying “foreign professional experience is not necessarily better than local work experience.” He attributes the desire to go abroad to the Moroccan “mentality” that sees “immigration as a solution to all socioeconomic problems.”

Meanwhile, Al Quds Al Arabi reports that ahead of the Palestinian June 9 university exams, competition amongst youth has manifested in the form of acute “test anxiety.” The article points out that “fear and anxiety” keeps many students home for six months, with the “balcony and television” as the only outlet for relaxation. The intense pressure on students resulting from “direct pressure from inner family circles… and indirect pressure from friends,” has caused medical ailments among some of the students

Rosewater miracle cure

Rosewater, a traditional ingredient in Arab food, has recently been proven to have versatile therapeutic effects. An article in the left-leaning Lebanese publication Al Akhbar notes that “nutritional experts advise people to stay away from soft drinks, and to incorporate natural extracts into their diets, including rosewater, which helps calm nerves and anger.”


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