Egypt is still Mubarakstan

Amira Nowaira writes:

More than two months after the start of the popular uprising that overthrew President Hosni Mubarak, Egyptians are increasingly fearful that although he is gone, his regime is still alive and kicking.

Egyptians now realise that Mubarakstan, the virtual edifice created by Mubarak and his coterie to ensure the continued dominance of a closed circle of politicians and businessmen, hasn’t collapsed along with the fall of its head and protector.

It is also distressingly evident that Mubarak was nothing more than the visible tip of an iceberg of corruption, for Mubarakstan is in fact a full-fledged state – a colonial power in every sense of the word, a state with its own colonial discourse, its propaganda machine and its brutal militia. It even has its own capital in the city of Sharm el-Sheikh, where the ruling elite eat their imported dinners and lounge on sumptuous sandy beaches.

In Sharm el-Sheikh a parallel universe has been created, a lavish and elaborate underwater tank where the noises of the people can’t filter through. That’s why it has become the emblem of the rift between the decision-makers, whose decisions were taken only in support of their own interests, and the population they governed, whose angry shouts remained totally muted.

Mubarakstan has created its little Sharm el-Sheikhs in many other locations, small enclaves of gated communities in the most spectacular places in the country, leaving the rest of the “natives”, 40% of whom live way below any recognisable poverty line, to languish in a huge country-wide ghetto.

The state of Mubarakstan even boasts its own bank. The Arab International Bank, which stands on Egyptian soil, is nonetheless an offshore business enterprise that is completely outside the Egyptian government’s jurisdiction.

This was where Egypt’s billionaires deposited their loot without the possibility of ever being found out. How and when was such a bank established? Why is it still operating? These are questions that nobody is answering at the moment.

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