Political comebacks come in many guises and have the tendency to take us by surprise. Take former British PM Tony Blair, who having initiated the war in Iraq somehow landed the position of UN Middle East peace envoy, even as coalition forces continued to patrol Baghdad. Hugo Chavez has come back from the grave to seemingly steer his tea boy to victory in Venezuela’s Sunday election. But what of Hosni Mubarak? Despised by his people, wasting away in a Cairo hospital prison, the ousted Egyptian President appeared on the edge of life the last time he appeared in public, beleaguered in a hospital bed in a court room, convicted of being accomplice in the killing of unarmed demonstrators.
Fast forward to his latest bravado filled, fist pumping appearance for his adjourned re-trial on Saturday and the situation seemed to have drastically changed. Of Course protesters gathered outside the courtroom, screaming for imprisonment or death for Mubarak but this time there were voices calling for his release. There were Egyptians holding effigies of the former President aloft, but this time they were kissing the papier mache figures rather than burning them. Vendors had even set up stalls selling Mubarak-tat outside the courthouse! All of this has got people like us whispering, ever so softly, could the former President be making an improbable comeback?