• Reports
  • October 6, 2008
  • 6 minutes read

‘Gods Don’t Get Sick’

‘Gods Don’t Get Sick’

Here, via M, is a translation of the August 2007 article for which a Cairo court jailed Al-Dustur editor Ibrahim Issa last week:

Gods don’t get sick

The president in Egypt is a god and gods don’t get sick. Thus, President Mubarak, those surrounding him, and the hypocrites hide his illness and leave the country prey to rumors. It is not a serious illness. It’s just old age. But the Egyptian people are entitled to know if the president is down with something as minor as the flu.

Everybody has information about the president’s health situation: the White House, Tel Aviv, and Europe, where the president goes for treatment. The information is hidden only from Egyptians. Nobody would have known something was amiss had the president not lost consciousness on television during a speech a few years ago. Had he not stayed in Germany for a long time for treatment nobody would have said anything.

The state wants to present him as a sacred person who never errs, with whom nobody competes. So he definitely cannot fall ill. And nobody should even dare to think he can die like other human beings! The issue now, however, involves the country’s present and future. As everyone knows, the president’s family and Mrs. Mubarak have been pushing for the president to give up power—during his lifetime—and pass it to his son Gamal. The president is the only member of the family who resists this idea either because he wishes to stay in power or because he’s worried about antagonizing the Egyptian people and some important army generals.

The president fears his son’s life would be in danger if he transferred power to him. But with the president’s illness, and in a home ruled by fatherly sentiments and loyalty to the wife who has shared his life, the father’s heart may soften and overpower his mind. So Egypt’s future depends on sentimental decisions reached at a moment of illness.

The president’s temporary absence due to illness may allow people inside or outside the palace to do as they please. Mass Muslim Brotherhood arrests, rough security treatment of newspapers, hastening to hold NDP elections, and giving a push to Gamal Mubarak and Ahmed Ezz’s supporters against Safwat al-Sherif and Kamal al-Shazly’s men—all are steps the son uses to pressure state parties to render his move to the presidency a done deal. Rumors about the president’s health may even have stemmed from the son’s wish to impose a reality that nobody can refuse.

The president does suffer from circulation problems which, although not fatal, reduce circulation to the brain and may cause loss of consciousness for seconds or minutes. The question is, does this not affect the country? Does this not call for the president to rest? Gamal Mubarak thinks so. He believes the president should rest and leave ruling to him.

Other circles in the country are very tense. They fear silence, but they also fear taking action. Still others want everyone to shut up and achieve this by imprisoning or threatening them. My deepest fear is that the president’s illness will cause Egypt’s illness to deteriorate to the point of incapacity and bed sores that will paralyze and deform it.