Speculation about Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak lying in his deathbed seems to have been put down by Thursday’s televised speech orated by Mubarak himself on the anniversary of the 1952 Egyptian Revolution. Appearing to be healthy despite his gallbladder surgery back in March, Hosni addressed the nation on the importance of economic growth and “many goals we aim for today, tomorrow, and after tomorrow”.
Ruling in a state of national emergency since the 1981 assassination of President Anwar El-Sadat, former Vice President Hosni Mubarak has been Egypt’s successor-President for 28 years and built up Egypt to what it is today complete with certain human rights, economic benefits, and technological advances. As he grew older, the subject of President Mubarak’s health was plagued with rumors about secretly-covered illnesses in 2003, 2005, and 2008. After Mubarak turned 82 last May, people started to expect the President to suddenly keel over and die.
Mubarak’s health is of much concern to those following politics in the Middle East. President Mubarak has been an active player in the political field of the Middle East and has handled matters concerning the Arab-Israeli conflict and the presence of the U.S military in Iraq ever since Day 1 of the War on Terrorism. He especially plays a crucial part in negotiating terms between Israelis and Palestinians alongside the country of Jordan. If his health does deteriorate, political stability will perhaps also tip over in both Egypt and the Middle East.
Possibly to show he’s not likely to die anytime soon, President Mubarak’s official itinerary is full of scheduled visits to other African and Arab nations. He heartily welcomed presidents of other nations including Turkey this week not in his deathbed but robustly standing up. According to a letter to the editor of the Washington Times, Director Karim Haggag of the Egyptian Press and Information Office stated, “this is hardly the schedule of an ailing head of state”.
If in the event Mubarak does die, human rights and its activists in Egypt who have faced questionable treatment at the hands of the Mubarak government will perhaps be facing an even more questionable future. Although multi-candidate elections are coming up in 2011, Mubarak has continuously been training his eldest son for quite some time now to take over as successor by bringing him along on his trips to visit other heads of state and placing his son in an important, government position.
To many, Mubarak training his son as the “heir apparent” is quite ironic seeing that the 1952 revolution took place to overthrow a monarchy.
Mohamed ElBaradei, Mubarak’s main rival plans to run for the presidency in the 2011 elections if the conditions “are fair.”