There is a face in Egypt -- on billboards in Cairo, on the side of a building in Alexandria, in the lobby of our hotel in Aswan -- that wants so badly to be the official face. It's a benign face, slightly smiling, even bland; a timeless face, wearing neatly combed hair and a jacket-and-tie combo that transcends fashion.
But this is not Egypt's official face. It's the face of Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president for the past 30 years and the most widely reviled man in the country.
Hosni Mubarak's image is everywhere in Egypt. It's the face of a despot whose so-called "elections" are obviously rigged -- even the Prophet Muhammad would have a hard time garnering 88.5 percent of the vote, as Mubarak did in 2005. And his ironically named National Democratic Party took 95 percent of the parliamentary seats last fall.
It is the face of a dictator whose regime squeezes the people with an iron fist, stationing police on every street corner; imprisoning and torturing ordinary citizens without a trial; and censoring media that fail to meet its ever-changing and often mysterious criteria. He lives in palatial splendor while as many as half of Egypt's 80 million residents eke by on less than 25 cents per day.
Read the rest of this op-ed on AOL News.
Thanks as usual to Gina Misiroglu of Red Room for putting me in touch with the AOL people. It's just one of the great ways she's bringing traffic to Red Room and getting attention for Red Room's authors.
Causes Sherry Jones Supports
ACLU, Save Our Wild Salmon, Greenpeace, Spokane Mother and Children's Free Restaurant, Mercy Fund, public radio, Slow Food USA