A Day in the Life of a Dictatorship
A Day in the Life of a Dictatorship
Sunday, November 9,2008 04:59
By Shadi Hamid

Last week, during the Egyptian ruling party"s annual convention, Ahmed Ezz, prominent member of the deceptively-named "National Democratic Party," blasted the opposition for being fragmented and weak, suggesting that it was disturbed by the NDP"s "tremendous development and achievements." Yes, that must be it. I"m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that opposition activists are routinely rounded up, put in prison, and tortured.

During the same convention, Gamal Mubarak, the likely successor to his father, Hosni, accused the opposition of wishing to take Egypt "30 years backward." When I read this, I found myself initially confused. "Hmm, That doesn"t sound so bad," I thought. I went ahead and checked out Egypt"s freedom house numbers, and sure enough, its score for 1978 was 5/4. Today, it"s 6/5 and will probably be even worse when they release new figures next year.

Gamal, stop being coy: In response to the usual questions about who the NDP would "nominate" to be its next president, the son responds that "no party announces its candidates for president three years before elections are scheduled to take place." Translation: "I"m running for president."

In other news, there is apparently a new opposition group called "The Conference of the Hidden Minority." Ummm, I have no idea what that could possibly mean. Don"t they mean "silent majority"?