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I was 14 when Mubarak became president - he was vice president to the assassinated Anwar Sadat - and 44 when Mubarak was forced to step down after #Jan25 revolution. I was a Reuters correspondent in Cairo from 1993-1998 and covered Mubarak extensively. Some memories to follow
News outlets will give you the official obituaries: These are recollections of an Egyptian woman who left #Egypt in 1975, returned in 1988 and asked her uncles and aunts almost every day “Where is the revolution?” because of what #Mubarak and military rule had done to Egypt.
And when I became a journalist, I reported on the censorship - and was subjected to it - of the #Mubarak regime, its use of systematic torture via the drunk-on-power myriad security apparatuses he created, as well as - esp 2005 onwards - sexual violence vs protesters.
In 1989 - 1994, I was a staff reporter for a fortnightly newspaper called The Middle East Times. The newspaper no longer exists but back then, the #Muabarak regime wouldn’t give it a license to print in #Egypt, so it went to print in #Cyprus and flew in copies to Egypt.
A state censor had to approve each bi-weekly edition before it could hit the newsstands. One of my earliest articles for The MidEast Times was on domestic violence in Egypt. I used % from a State think tank. The censor banned the entire issue that week saying I had fabricated %
One of my earliest introductions to the brutality of #Mubarak’s police was when I reported on the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights’ (EOHR) annual report. There at their news conference was a woman in her 60s whose friends had encouraged her to seek justice via EOHR.
She owned a soda stand in a village in southern Egypt. One day police insisted she testify vs a man they said was a car thief.She refused, saying she’d never seen him steal anything. Police took her to the precinct and anally raped her with a chair leg. I will always remember her
When I took the EOHR report home so that I could read it for my article, the uncle I was living with asked to read it. He returned it to me the next morning, having read its horrors. Looking distraught he asked me “These thing happen in #Egypt?”
It was reminder that for many #Egyptians, as long as you kept quiet, kept your back to the wall, were “not political,” you would be fine and not get into trouble. But the woman raped by police for refusing to testify was just one of many whose torture smashed that delusion.
To get my presidential press pass that would allow me to cover #Mubarak’s news conferences, security services had to run a background check on me that included interviewing neigbours and keeping close tabs on me (and all who had passes). It took a while to get that pass.
It was taken from me by #Mubarak’s security after I refused to stand up when he entered an open-air restaurant in Sinai where we were waiting for his news conference with the Russian foreign minister.
When Reuters called the presidential palace to get my press card back, they were told “Tell Mona Eltahawy, the next time the president enters a room, she should stand up.” #Mubarak #Egypt
#Mubarak news conferences went like this: the minister of information/his rep would give out - we would see him - questions for state-owned media to ask Mubarak. They would be called on by Mubarak first. And then the rest of us could ask questions.
#Mubarak knew who I was. After a group of state-owned media reporters accompanied him on his plane somewhere, one of them told me Mubarak had asked them “Where’s the troublemaker from Reuters?”
At a Sinai presser with the Israeli defense minister, I asked #Mubarak a question. He motioned to his ear and I repeated it and then-foreign minister Amr Moussa leaned in and whispered to Mubarak who then answered my question. It was clear that Moussa was feeding him answers.
At the end of the news conference, #Mubarak walked over to me, put his arm around my shoulder and asked me as we walked “Tell me, what were you asking me back then?”

Stunned, I told him and then asked him “What did you think I’d asked you?!”
#Mubarak must be remembered for using sexual assault vs protesters. As I explain in Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution, testimony by female activists who were sexually assaulted by Mubarak’s police in 2005 was revolutionary & politicized many
It was the first time #Egyptians heard sexual assault being openly discussed. My relatives told me they were sickened when they heard of the assaults. Although there was photo & video evidence, the #Mubarak regime refused to hold anyone accountable
A young woman told me that hearing how #Mubarak’s police and thugs had sssualky assaulted women journalists and activists had politicized her and had taught her how little control she had over any aspect of her life in #Egypt.
The wave of protests in 2005 were one of the many catalysts for the #Jan25 revolution. Revolutions don’t happen overnight.The uprising against #Mubarak was a long time coming. But remember it was never just about removing him. It was about removing the regime,which is still there
Being an #Egyptian corespondent for Reuters in #Cairo 1993-1998 meant being in limbo - “safer”because I worked for a foreign news outlet but still subject to #Mubarak regime’s oppression of Egyptians. I was taken/ordered to go in for questioning at Interior Ministry several times
After I left Reuters, I was still ordered in for questioning for my writing during the #Mubarak regime. e.g. on the morning that this oped was published, I was summoned for questioning.…
Five American administrations, Democratic and Republican, supported the #Mubarak regime. The EU was a longtime supporter. They all knew what his regime did to #Egyptians. They chose “stability” over our freedom and dignity.
I could write an entire book - I’ll call it The Troublemaker from Reuters - but I wanted to post some initial thoughts and memories. I wrote this when #Mubarak’s “justice system” - appointed by and for the benefit of his regime and family - acquitted him…
#Mubarak died a free man at 91. He spent 30yrs stealing from, torturing & holding #Egypt captive;30yrs consolidating a regime that continues to steal from,torture & hold #Egypt captive.

Fuck Mubarak, all who supported him, all who came after him. Fuck Sisi & all who support him
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