August the 3rd of the year 2011 marks a historic day as the despotic leader Husni Mubarak along with his two sons appeared before court .Mubarak held Egypt captive under his undemocratic ruling for more than three decades. During these thirty years, Egyptians were not the only victims of his regime. Palestinians were also affected by his policies as Israel considered him the most important ally in the region.
It’s well-known that Israel depended on Mubarak and his cronies to keep Gaza under strict siege. The Mubarak’s complicity with the Zionist state cost many Palestinians their lives and their hopes. The only outlet for the Palestinians to the outside world, the Rafah border crossing, was firmly closed keeping thousands of Palestinians locked up in an open air prison. Thus, limiting the charges which Mubarak will be facing to just killing the protestors won’t be enough. As a fellow blogger,Omar Gharieb ,puts it, “Why didnt we Palestinians assign a lawyer 2 accuse Mubarak of supporting the Israeli Apartheid & #Gaza ‘s siege??? #MubarakTrial”
The reactions of Palestinians in Gaza ranged from cautious sympathy to relief. Abeer Ayoub a 24 year journalist and human rights worker says about the trail:” when I saw Mubarak first in the court, i burst into tears” She adds:”My mind says he deserves it…my heart makes me feel as if he’s my dad who’s being treated this way”. However, blogger Ola Anan, the author of “From Ghazza” ,explains that it is about Mubarak facing justice for the crimes he committed not about schadenfreude. And for those who expressed their rejection to the trial, Ola responds “If it’s not for what he did for the Egyptians, then just think about he did to us [the Palestinians]”.
Ola is not alone in her views. Mubarak’s name is directly associated with his blunt reaction to the Israeli attack on Gaza. Mohamed Suleiman, a 21 year old writer and a Masters student recalls some of Mubarak’s crimes:” he remained coldly silent and went on to tighten the siege preventing the Palestinian civilians from escaping the 18-day massacre.” Mohamed adds:” Now, until he’s put in jail, I feel court is his most befitting place for every crime he has committed against both Egyptians and Palestinians.”
The implications of the first trial of an Arab leader are many. But for Palestinians in Gaza the situation on the ground in the post-Mubarak Egypt remains quite the same. Abeer express her doubt” the trial was supposed to come with some great effect on Palestinians in Gaza, but it has been a while since he stepped down. The Rafah border was to open permanently but nothing much has changed.” But still Osama Shomar, a 25 year old English Literature student, sees some great significance in the trial. “it certainly has implication on Palestinians because let’s not forget, thart Mubarak was complicit in the siege on the Gaza strip, and seeing him in that cage, has very much fulfilled my dream and many others, who were wronged by the Egyptians at Rafah border crossing. “ Seeing Mubarak facing justice ignited Osama’s hope that someday Israeli officials will be facing the same fate. :” as a Palestinian living in Gaza, i felt for the first time that justice is being served and that ignited hope in me that one day Israeli criminals will appear before the international court of law for fair trails.”
In the costal enclave, Mubarak and regime were considered a hand for the Israel. Seeing the people’s power in Egypt bringing down the pharaoh gave the Palestinians in Gaza a glimpse of hope that their situation may eventually change. Though the road is long and difficult, for now seeing the symbol of injustice facing justice will offer the Palestinians and the Egyptians alike some relief.