Last modified: 7:58 AM Saturday, 14 January 2017

‘The laughing cow’

Having stolen some $70 billion over his career (which amounts to about $1,000 per Egyptian) while leaving nearly half of his countrymen struggling for subsistence on two dollars a day, former president Hosni Mubarak doubtless thought he’d keep laughing all the way to the manger — er, bank — as he has done with impunity for three decades.

Moo-barak

“Moo-barak”: mooovin' right along.
[ Image Source ]

But this time, the joke was on him: Over the course of eighteen days, from 25 January to 11 February, hundreds of thousands of angry Egyptians surfeited with tyranny converged, day and night, in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. There they hanged their presumptuous leader in effigy; they made a profusion of signs (20 of which are featured in this slide show) in English, French, Urdu and Arabic demanding his departure, comparing him to Adolf Hitler (“with apologies to Hitler”), and damning him for his hubris; they played music on a dozen different instruments; and they endlessly chanted “Erhal!” (“Leave!”) and “Kifaya!” (“Enough!”).

And in the end, it was too much. The dictator who had held a nation of over 70 million in thrall to his will for a score and a half of years collapsed — in fact, it is reported that Mubarak collapsed in a faint three times during the recording of his resignation speech — capitulated and fled. Where he has gone is something of a mystery: Sources have suggested that he is in Germany (where he was hospitalized during a previous illness), in Dubai, in Sharm el-Sheikh and/or in a coma, “slipping in and out of consciousness.”

Wherever he is, he owes Egypt $70 billion, and the debt will soon be called in.

Originally published as a review of a foreignpolicy.com slide show of signs produced by Egyptian protesters.

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