The Mubaraks' last hours in power
From an article in The Times of 18 January [behind an annoying paywall that doesn't even let you link] by Michael Binyon and James Hyder:
Based on insider accounts, The Times can reveal exclusively the chaotic final hours of the deposed President’s 30-year rule, and the successive months of decline as he languished in a tiny hospital room.
At his side throughout the tumultuous events was his wife, Suzanne, the daughter of a Welsh nurse and an Egyptian surgeon who, at the crucial moment of her husband’s resignation, kept Egypt and the rest of the world waiting as she sobbed uncontrollably on the floor of the presidential villa, refusing to leave.
Mrs Mubarak had joined her two sons, Gamal and Alaa, in the helicopter to take them to internal exile in Sharm el-Sheikh on the day that her husband was forced out of office. But as the blades were whirring, she leapt out and ran back to the villa.
Impatient officials suspected that she may have forgotten her jewellery or a favourite dress. In fact, she had returned home and broken down. The guards who finally breached protocol and burst into the villa found her prostrate on the floor and inconsolable with grief, surrounded by the trinkets and records of her lifetime.
The final hours of the regime are dramatically outlined in a new book by the former head of Egyptian television, who played a key role in persuading Mr Mubarak to quit and in drafting his farewell speech.
Abdel Latif el-Menawy says that the guards had to pick up the President’s wife and carry her round the house, her tears staining their shoulders as she collected the few possessions she could not bear to part with.
“In her grief she kept repeating the same line, over and over, ‘... They had a reason ...’ When she had composed herself enough, she turned to the guards and asked in a panic, ‘Do you think they can get in here? Please ... don’t let them come here! Please, don’t let them destroy it, please. Look, you can stay here, stay in the villa ... please, protect it!’”
All this time Mr el-Menawy was waiting in his office for the order to broadcast the tape that would announce the President’s resignation. “Though no one knew it at the time, the whole country was waiting for Suzanne Mubarak as she wept in her empty palace,” he says.
The rest has been put up here by Abdel Latif Menawy, and includes details on Mubarak's post-power depression, his minor heart attack, cancer of the intestine, brief coma and more – including an account of how Gamal Mubarak changed his father's third speech and how Egyptian intelligence and Anas al-Feki negotiated the president's departure. I suspect Menawy inflates his own role and omits more from this, but it's interesting to see a detailed account emerge nonetheless.