Details about the life of Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak during his terms as a vice president and then a president for 30 years have been leaked to the Egyptian press in the form of his memoirs.
The first part of Mubarak’s memoirs, published in the Egyptian Rose al-Youssef daily on Monday, traces the different stages of his life starting from his poor childhood.
His father was a government employee with limited financial capabilities, who earned very little money which was not enough to financially support his children. He also recounts how his mother was suffering from a lot of financial problems and eventually filed for alimony.
In his memoirs, Mubarak adds that his financial situation started getting relatively better in 1949 when he joined the Air Force Academy.
However, in the beginning, he said, he always wore the military uniform because he didn’t have money to buy clothes and how his colleagues made fun of him upon learning just how poor he was.
The memoirs, penned by a famous journalist who was paid $250,000, reveal how Mubarak dreamed of being rid of poverty and climbing the social ladder. They also show how his wife Suzanne asked for divorce several times until he became president since she was by no means going to give up the title of Egypt’s First Lady.
Mubarak also talks about his relationship with the late president Anwar al-Sadat who often insulted him and accused him of stupidity. Mubarak describes being appointed deputy by Sadat as one of the happiest days of his life. Sadat, according to Mubarak, was planning to dismiss him in 1981, but was assassinated before he could do so.
Mubarak mentions the Sept. 5 events in which Sadat arrested more than 1,300 members of the opposition and stated that Mansour Hassan, the then minister of information, culture, and presidential affairs, who is the current head of the post-revolution Advisory Council, and potential presidential candidate, objected to the arrests and was, thus dismissed from his position.
Mubarak then moves to late Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi who, he says, could have been involved in the killing of former Libyan minister of foreign affairs, who later became member of the opposition, Mansour al-Kikhia, as well as Lebanese Shiite cleric Moussa al-Sadr and late Egyptian president Gamal Abdul Nasser’s son-in-law Ashraf Marawan.
Kikhia, Mubarak explains, used to criticize Qaddafi a lot and posed a threat to his rule. The same applied to Sadr whom Qaddafi invited to lunch then killed him and threw his body in the sea.
As for Marawan, Mubarak adds, it was a dispute over the commission of an arms deal between him and Qaddafi’s sons. The arms, he says, were later sold to an African country.
Qaddafi, Mubarak points out, also tried to help Sadat’s assassins escape from jail because he felt grateful that they killed his archenemy, who bombed Benghazi in the late 1970s and only backed-up under Arab and international pressure. However, the attempt of smuggling the culprits failed.
The Edinburgh-based Canongate, one of the most famous publishing houses in the UK, bought the copyrights to the memoirs in return for 10 million pound sterling.
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)