The old regime must be prosecuted
The Egyptian people know the 25 January revolution sought to bring down a powerful regime that had developed deep roots in Egyptian society over the course of many years. The Egyptian people also understand that while they succeeded in removing the head of the former regime, ex-President Hosni Mubarak, the regime's roots are still entrenched and it awaits an opportune moment to reemerge. Egyptians paid a high price to oust Mubarak: 830 martyrs and tens of thousands of injured, including more than 1,000 people who have permanently lost their sight. Despite this, however, Egyptians continue to insist on expunging the roots of the old regime at any cost, lest it undermine the revolution.
The old regime had a huge network of interests that included National Democratic Party leaders, administrative officials, security figures, and corrupt businessmen. Given this extensive network, it’s naïve to assume that removing the regime’s roots will be an easy task. Egyptians understand their revolution is not yet over, and that the battle they're now embarking on is more dangerous than was the fight to remove Mubarak. Well aware of the fact that beneficiaries of the old regime are now driving the counter-revolution and will not give up that easily, Egyptians know they must be patient, extremely alert, and ready for a great deal of maneuvering.
Naturally, the battle to purge the old regime must begin with the prosecution of those ex-officials accused of murder, torture, and stealing public funds. This will require all kinds of pressure in order to establish a judicial committee to investigate those suspected of violations — the first step in a large-scale cleansing campaign. The Egyptian people will not accept the sacrifice of a few scapegoats for the sake of saving the real criminals. It’s imperative that Mubarak, his family and all the former regime’s main figures also be investigated.
I disagree with those who claim the on-going mass rallies in Egypt are unnecessary and negatively affect the country’s economic and security situation. These demonstrations are likely to continue until the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) meets the full demands of the revolution. These demonstrations are a necessary tool to exert pressure on the authorities in charge of managing the transitional period. They do not disrupt production, as some claim, since they’re held on Fridays, a non-working day. And they do not adversely affect public security because their organizers are keen on maintaining their peaceful nature.
Counter-revolutionary forces are doing their best to disrupt production, threaten public security, and push people to long for the pre-revolution days. Absent the kind of pressure exercised through weekly demonstrations, it will be difficult for the caretaker government and the SCAF to move forward with the radical changes demanded by the Egyptian public: the complete removal of the old regime and the creation of one that is untainted by corrption and authoritarianism.
It’s impossible to achieve these goals without first trying those officials responsible for massacring protesters and without recovering stolen public funds. The Egyptian street will not be put to rest until Mubarak and his family are put on trial. Only then will the forces of counter-revolution be compelled to retreat into a defensive position.