by Patrick Appel
Londanstani, who lived in Egypt for more than a decade, mulls it:
The system of government Mubarak inherited but then perpetuated contributed to his undoing. But the consequences of his method of rule and the acquiescence of his allies will be felt by Egyptians for some time to come. Mubarak often said he was working towards a gradual democratic transformation. But his actions did not bare out his words. Any credible secular party trying to establish itself was routinely denied permission. Parties that already existed were subverted from the inside. Secular political leaders like Ayman Nour were harassed and jailed on trumped up charges. Islamist politicians - even moderate centrists - were subjected to military courts and jailed by the thousands. Elections were regularly rigged quite blatantly, and often pretty badly (with journalists covering them often getting arrested). Secular middle class women who demonstrated in support of independent judges and secular democratic reform were sexually assaulted. All this generated little complaint from the United States.
(Photo: Vice President Hosni Mubarak casts his vote on October 13th, 1981 in a national referendum on whether he will succeed the slain President Anwar Sadat as leader of Egypt. By Tom Hartwell/AFP/Getty Images)