Egypt's political lassitude and social anomie suggests that rather than ensuring public peace, the Emergency Law has undermined it by discouraging people's natural impulse to help themselves and one another. The suspension of due process has eroded the fabric of society and the civil rights on which it is based. This was evident during last year's parliamentary elections when demonstrators and voters were beaten and detained. Vociferous criticism of the Emergency Law at that time roused Mubarak to declare that "Only Islamists demand abolishment of this law. But I will never let chaos prevail!"You've read the column. Now buy the book.
But what do you get when you deny people their constitutional rights, if not chaos then jungle law? A fine example was offered earlier this month by Naaman Gomaa, the former leader of Egypt's Wafd Party. He stormed party headquarters with armed thugs to unseat his successor, while police stood by and 28 people were injured. If the leader of a moribund party is capable of such hubris, to what lengths would the ruling one go to protect its privileges? The Emergency Law allows high officials to flaunt the justice they are meant to uphold. Of the millions of un-enforced court rulings (five million is the figure quoted in the local press), most are against some division of the executive branch.