Studio guest Evgeny Satanovsky, President of the Institute of the Middle East, Kamal Gaballa, Managing Editor from Al-Ahram daily, Cairo, and Sergei Filatov, political observer from International Affairs magazine, shared their opinions with Radio Sputnik.
Hosni Mubarak is acquitted. What was behind the decision to do that?
Evgeny Satanovsky: He was the teacher and the commander of all the people who lead Egypt now, including Gen. al-Sisi – the former Minster of Defense and now the President of Egypt. His team stopped the Islamic revolution in Egypt and took power. Of course, this team is a military junta, but this is not a choice between good and bad, this is the choice between terrible and apocalyptic. So, to tell the truth, I applaud this decision. This man who really built the new Egyptian economy, built the new Egypt, made this country the real country must not finish his days in a prison.
How was the news of Mubarak’s acquittal perceived in Egypt?
Kamal Gaballa: We are not happy in Egypt at all to see Mubarak free. When we say Mubarak, it means the entire regime. The same as you suffered in Russia during the dictatorship, we have suffered a lot from the Mubarak’s regime for the last 30 years. So, now we are still struggling in Egypt to get rid of this regime. Of course, we are not happy enough with the Sisi regime, because it he still going on the same road of Mubarak.
But we look forward that we will succeed in getting rid of this regime as quickly as possible. And in that case I think Egypt will play its role in the area and in the world, the same as it was before. We are looking forward to build our democratic civilian modern state of Egypt. We have a roadmap now and we are happy that we finished the era of the MB which was the black age in the Egyptian history. And since we got rid of the former President Morsi, we are doing our best now to continue our roadmap.
We have just finished the new constitution to build the democratic civilian modern state in Egypt. We elected our President, though it is Sisi and we are looking forward to have the general election which will be held at the beginning of the next year. This means that we are going ahead, but till this moment we are not satisfied with the results. But anyway, we are going in the right way.
Some are saying that Mubarak was the savior of Egypt, some are saying that he was killing Egypt. Where are you in this dispute?
Sergei Filatov: Look, during the Mubarak era the Egyptian population raised twice, from 40 million up to 89 million. So, this is the very bright example of the Egyptians’ life. If you live in good conditions, you have children; if not, you don’t have. The Egyptians doubled their population during Mubarak, first.
I heard the man who spoke before me and I can tell you that he and his colleagues are propaganda men. They want to get rid from the President whom they don’t like, but they have no positive program. We saw this in Tunisia, we saw this in Egypt when Mubarak was toppled and we saw this in Libya. They didn’t want to have Gaddafi, but what did they want? Now you see chaos in Libya.
So, these misters read the American, French and English newspapers and they think that it is possible to make life in Cairo the same as in Paris. But they don’t know that previously France went through very crucial events 200 year ago with a lot of suffering.
So, I think that Mubarak’s era was one of the best eras for the Egyptian people. And opposition is a normal thing, but if the opposition comes to power, as it was with Morsi, without any good program to develop the country, they ruin everything. And I don’t want to support these men in Egypt or in Syria who are in the opposition, but don’t know what to do if they will be the chiefs of the state. It is a propaganda.
And how split do you think the population in Egypt now is?
Kamal Gaballa: I'm a little a bit astonished to hear your guest speaking about the population in Egypt increasing. We are suffering from this increase in the population. And Mubarak himself was not proud of this increase. He used to say – stop increasing the population.
The years of Mubarak for most of the Egyptians are really the black years and when he was freed from prison that was a black day for us. The main problem we are facing in Egypt now is that the Mubarak’s regime wants to come back and wants to survive. And we see it as the Nazism in Germany or communism in Russia which wants to come back again. We want to get rid of this, to have a new era in Egypt.
We don’t want the Mubarak regime to come back, we don’t want the Islamists to come back, we want to build our own democratic civilian modern state as quickly as possible. We are facing the economic difficulties and that is because of Mubarak. We are facing corruption because of Mubarak regime.
Egypt now is not the same as Egypt during the Nasser’s era. We were really independent and did not follow the US policy. Mubarak was a good guy for the Zionism and for the Israelis. Now we want to have our own independent leader not following the US or being a good friend for the Israelis. I think Sisi is doing his homework good enough in that way, but till this moment we are not satisfied.