Foreign Policy: Mubarak’s Trial Will not Feed Egyptians

Foreign Policy: Mubarak’s Trial Will not Feed Egyptians

Despite the fact that Hosni Mubarak deserves to be on trial, the Egyptian people cannot eat transitional justice, the daily Foreign Policy said in one of its article.

But it remains to be seen whether considering the alleviation of poverty as much of a priority, the writer said, indicating that middle-class activists have their own class interests and focusing on political actions, which do not necessarily coincide with those of the poor.

The under examined heart of the matter is this: The most relevant fact for the majority of the inhabitants of countries like Egypt and Tunisia is not that they have been governed by tyrants but that they live in crushing poverty. Abolishing Mubarak’s party, confiscating its funds, and even putting him, his sons, and his cronies on trial will literally do nothing to alleviate this.

But such a progression is anything but dependable, and unless democratic change is succeeded very quickly by palpable economic improvement for the poor, the fall of the tyrant will be cold comfort indeed for the majority of Egyptians.

Economists will tell you that democracy is quick, but development takes time. The problem is that there is no time, and those who fret about the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, despite the fact that the organization was a latecomer to the anti-Mubarak surge, should remember that one of the principal reasons that the Brotherhood commands the loyalty of so many poor Egyptians is due to the fact that it has consistently provided many of the social services that the state failed to provide.

So far, at least, the rhetoric of the pro-democracy groups has been heavily focused on politics, including, centrally, the issues of justice and accountability, while remaining rather light on questions of economic development.

In Peter Brook’s staging of Marat/Sade, the only truly great modern play about the revolution, there is the line: "The revolution came and went and unrest was replaced by discontent." If the Arab democracy activists and those who are trying to support them do not modify their approach radically — that is to say, put jobs and health care at its centre, attaching at least as much importance to these as political reform and justice, the same fate almost surely awaits the Arab Spring”.