Dear readers, for those of you who live near Appleton, Wisconsin, I will be reading from my book, Courage Grows Strong at the Wound, at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 2600 Philip Lane (just south of East Calumet Street), on Sunday, 2-13, at 6:30 p.m.
By Robert C. Koehler
It was just a routine murder.
Last June, police accosted a young man at an Internet café in the city of Alexandria. He had just filmed their drug deal, or he simply refused to show them his ID. Whatever the provocation — accounts vary — they slammed his head against the table, dragged him outside as he screamed, beat him viciously for 20 minutes. That was that. You can pick up the body later.
In a thug society, power is as power does. And in Egypt, power flowed from the top — from, indeed, beyond the top. It flowed from the superpower that had been a cornucopia of military aid, nearly $2 billion a year, to President Hosni Mubarak for the last 30 years. In return, Mubarak had to be a useful friend to that superpower: open his prisons for secret torture operations, acquiesce to Israel’s blockade of Gaza and, of course, keep the oil flowing from Saudi Arabia. Otherwise, his only obligation was to stay in power, and he did so with a simple and basic brutality. Do what we say or we’ll kill you.