Saturday, May 20, 2006

The different shades between black and white

Here is what I mean about the greatest tragedies being big misunderstandings.

Al Masry Al Youm had this interesting portrait of the judges' drama in form of a conversation that took place between Hazem el Ghiryani from the Judges' Club and Fathi Khalifa, head of the "disciplinary court" against Mekki and Bastawisi:

قال إنه يسعي للصالح العام وأن ضميره لا يضمر سوءاً، وأن هذه المسألة ستتضح يوم الحساب، فقلت له: إنك ظالمني وسأسامحك، أما إذا اتضح أنني أظلمك فليسامحني الله، وانصرفت فأمسكني من يدي وأخذ يكرر قسمه بأنه يحبني، فقلت له: «الأفعال أفضل.. وأنت ناصب مشنقة هنا»، فرد: «أنا برضه ناصب مشنقة»، فقلت: «حسبي الله ونعم الوكيل».

Ghiryani accuses Khalifa of heading a kangaroo court, and Khalifa answers back that he is working in the interests of the general good, and says that his conscience has no bad intentions and this matter will be cleared on Judgment Day.

As I explained in this post, they are both right. While this court doesn't seem impartial, Khalifa is indeed carrying out orders meant to serve the general good.

(Tragedy # 1: Instead of peacefully working out a solution to the problem, the government actually holds a kangaroo court against members of the house of justice.)

Adding more tragedy to the background of this drama is the story I heard (although I'm not sure of's hard to know what's really going on) that judges Mekki and Bastawisi didn't originally intend to explode this election rigging issue with the government, but what happened was that one of the opposition papers quoted the two judges in an article where it published a compiled blacklist of the judges whose election stations were thought to have had irregularities.

This means that based on this 'mistake' they were dragged into court, and the two judges with the backing of the Judges' Club had no choice but to hold on to their guns.

(Tragedy # 2: We have an irresponsible press of an opposition that couldn't care less.)

If matters couldn't get any worse, Judge Bastawisi gets a heart attack under the pressure he faces from the tribunal. The poor man's heart actually stopped, and was revived only with seven electric shocks.

The drama finally ends the next day as the court unilaterally declares Mekki innocent and reprimands the hospitalized Bastawisi for "blame". (The man almost died and is lying in hospital, couldn't they have declared him innocent as well, or at least switched the 'blame' verdict for the healthy one?)

Moral of the story is:

We are caught in the middle between a stupid government and an anarchic opposition*.

* But having said this, if it weren't for the protests of the opposition, the government probably wouldn't have felt the pressure to finally let the two judges off the hook.

Sheesh...we are in a mess.

This would make an interesting play wouldn't it.


ألِف said...

I'm also not in favour of a man-with-a-godly-mission explanation, and I acknowledging that as the future unfolds and as events occur, new goals form all the time turning ordinary people into real heroes.

But the judiciary had this struggle boiling under the surface for years, and these persons did not just parachute down yesterday. The tensions were there and *now* is the time in history that it was all meant to manifest to the non-observing public like myself.

There's a rather long history to this specific struggle around elections and the political exploitation of judges. Reading Baheyya is indeed worth the time spent in doing so, and will give you a brief but eclectic view on the whole issue.

Seneferu said...

But get this...If the end product of what they are doing is this...then that makes them, in spite of their good intentions, not heroes but false messiahs. And that would also make the ruling party, beneath all its excesses and apparent stupidities, in actual comparison between the two options, our only shimmer of hope for a better future.

Do you see what I'm saying, Alif?

This is not to say that there can't be a middle path; there can...I just don't see it so far.

I don't think Baheyya, who 25 years after Sadat's assassination still holds a grudge against the man who liberated Egypt from tyranny and occupation and brought peace to his people, would see eye-to-eye with me on this one.