Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bad news for dictators (and their victims)

Ousted President Hosni Mubarak and his two sons were detained Wednesday for investigation of corruption, abuse of power and killings of protesters, bringing cheers of victory from activists who hoped it marked a turning point in Egypt’s turbulent transition to democracy.

The 82-year-old Mubarak was under detention in a hospital, a step prosecutors depicted as a precaution to monitor his health while under questioning.

His sons Gamal, once seen as Mubarak’s successor, and Alaa, a wealthy businessman, were jailed in Cairo’s Torah prison, where a string of former top regime figures — including Mubarak’s prime minister, ruling party chief and chief of staff — are already languishing, facing similar corruption investigations.

If you were an Arab dictator and read this story, would you: (1) resign in the face of peaceful protests to avoid unnecessary violence and bloodshed; or, (2) fight to the death to preserve your power and the safety of your family?

This is bad news for those still living under dictatorial regimes.

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