I was never a fan of William Shakespeare. I respect him, admire him and find him inspiring. But, I also think similarly of figures like Muhammad Qandil (the famous Egyptian singer) and Farouq Goweida (a famous Egyptian contemporary poet) Who deserve respect and admiration yet, they bore me out of my wits at times. Well, most of the time!
Last night, I came across a quote extracted from William Shakespeare’s famous play: Julius Caesar, in which Mark Antony (Marcus Antonius) stated in Act 3, scene 1, 270–275:
“and Caesar’s spirit, raging for revenge,With Ate by his side come hot from hell,Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voiceCry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war,That this foul deed shall smell above the earthWith carrion men, groaning for burial.”
Basically Mark Antony was in rage over Julius Caesar’s assassination and was preparing to strike back at his assassins (Brutus and Cassius), Antony invokes Caesar’s spirit and Ate, the Greek goddess of ruin and strife. Ate will charge in with dogs of war, causing havoc on the conspirators. Cry ‘Havoc is obviously a call for destruction. Boring, eh? okay, it’s over I promise, no more Shakespeare.
What really shocked me is this: I am absolutely positive that Mubarak has never read Shakespeare, has never heard of a play called Julius Caesar and does not even know that “ate” is the past tense of the verb “eat” not to mention a name for a Greek goddess!
Yet Mubarak’s plan to counterattack and thus negate the effect of a long awaited revolution adhered perfectly to Mark Antony’s plan to strike back at Brutus and Cassius – the “revolutionary” assassins of Julius Caesar. Antony, with the help of Ate will raise hell on earth and unleash the dogs of war such that even the dead corpses of men will groan for burial (mercy), you can imagine what the living men will beg for (safety and security?)! Okay let me make things clearer: think of Antony as Omar Suleiman, think of Ate as the remaining members of the NDP who are still in power and think of the dogs of war as the Egyptian police, everything will start making sense!
The Egyptian police was and still is the thorn in this country’s flesh, heart, soul and dignity. Years and years have passed and the Egyptians suffered the humiliation, abuse, torture, corruption and greed of a brutal monster, lurking in their backyard in the name of state security, personal security and sometimes in the name of patriotism. Before January 25th, 2011, the Egyptian police – following the orders of Mubarak’s regime or their own mutilated code of conduct – have enjoyed the status of being invincible, untouchable and in numerous cases above the law. The same law they were sworn to respect and abide to. This is “partly” because of the emergency law (Law No. 162 of 1958) that was applied in Egypt since 1967 (except for an 18-month break in 1980). It has been continuously extended every three years since 1981 and up until this very moment.
But the main reason – in my opinion- to their audacious, brutal conduct over so many years is due to two main reasons:
- The absence of a true Independent civil ombudsman office that would handle all and any complaint and escalate it in the proper channels seeking only justice. (Civil Monitoring)
- The negative attitude that characterized the Egyptian society over the years due to their inherited firm belief that whatever they do, justice will never be served (especially when your opponent is a police officer).
The Ombudsman idea is not new to Egypt. The first implementation of the Ombudsman was in the form of Wali al-Mazalim introduced in Islamic Judiciary by Omar the second caliphate around 634 AD. It continued through the days of Muhammad Ali who ruled Egypt in 1805 and was cancelled once the 1923 constitution was announced, as the law maker confused the role of the public prosecutor with the role of the ombudsman! It was only logical of a renowned political activist like Hossam El-Hamalawy a.k.a 3arabawy to demand civil monitoring on all civil and non civil organizations including the Egyptian army. Hossam stated these “blasphemous” ideas during a phone interview with an Egyptian TV host on Tahrir satellite channel, Only the idea scared the the TV host out of his wits and the host ended the interview abruptly while mumbling incoherent sentences in the lines of: what do we know about missile weapons to monitor the army? the army is a red line! Hossam came out of this: a hero who stood for what he thought was right and just. The host lost his credibility on air!
Back to the dogs …
Once Mubarak has fallen, the dogs of war had two fights to go through and they knew they had to win both. The first was their fight against the rebels and their too much-too soon victory. This fight if won would reinstate Mubarak or at the very least another Mubarak in power thus regaining their old status and power. The second was purely a “V for Vendetta” type of fight, a fight for their dignity which suffered major bruises during the revolution, for what is more humiliating than being defeated by a bunch of unarmed civilians shouting “Selmeya” in the faces of men dressed like Samurais, armed better than a Samurai and have neither the ethics nor the morals of a Samurai?!
The dogs of war roamed the streets of Egypt major cities, accompanied by an army of thugs, firing bullets, scaring unarmed civilians, looting shops, destroying ATM machines, releasing prisoners from jails and detainees from police stations, launching rumors of women being raped, kids being kidnapped and other scary unsubstantiated allegations. But they tried very hard to adhere to their main goal: scare but don’t get caught, if you did: don’t worry, you will soon get released and never get close to a foreigner or an embassy, thats a red line. The only red line. That’s what I have noticed!
The next step was to make sure they stay away from the streets as long as possible. They wished people would beg for their return to their original status especially that many citizens confuse them (the police) with security and are willing to give up some of their basic liberties in exchange for “feeling” safe. They also orchestrated a few incidents in Atfeeh and Imbaba to fuel up the sectarian conflict in Egypt, this was probably their ace of spades!
Finally, the dogs of war have deserted their hiding holes, got dressed in their “faggoty white uniforms” and decided to come back to the streets, doing the same things they used to do for thirty long years. The result: four civilians dead after being allegedly tortured in police stations. All for the sake of the show, the show of vulgar expression of gruesome power and deep corruption and the show must go on!