Tuesday 12 December 2017

Robert Fisk: Arabs awaken, but nightmares still lie ahead

Protesters in Tahrir
Square in Cairo
demonstrate against
the life sentence
imposed on Hosni
Mubarak. The
campaigners had
demanded the death
penalty for the deposed
president.
Protesters in Tahrir Square in Cairo demonstrate against the life sentence imposed on Hosni Mubarak. The campaigners had demanded the death penalty for the deposed president.

Robert Fisk

There is nothing so bad as a journalist in the wrong place at the wrong time. So here I was in Cairo, covering the trial of Hosni Mubarak, arriving from Lebanon -- where 15 people have just died -- while Bashar al-Assad pops up on my television screen yesterday to say that his army was not responsible for the massacre at Houla a week ago. And there was Assad, talking of the most serious crisis since the end of colonialism. Well, you can say that again.

And I don't feel a lot happier. Ahmed Shafik, the Mubarak loyalist, has the support of the Christian Copts, and Assad has the support of the Syrian Christians. The Christians support the dictators. Not much of a line, is it?

On Saturday, the dictator of Egypt was sentenced to life. On Sunday, the dictator of Syria fought for his life. And he said -- he warned, he threatened -- that his war could extend to other countries. And we all know what that means. The future of the Lebanese city of Tripoli is in doubt. Not long ago, a Lebanese friend said to me that she feared for her country if Assad was in danger. Now I know what she means.

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