Respect for the State is a people’s demand and a condition for the progress of a nation. It is derived from the State’s respect for the law and the Constitution. For no State could ever earn the trust and respect of the people by oppression, injustice and fear.
The Egyptian State is ancient and has traditions that distinguish it from many of its Arab neighbors. However, it has made many mistakes throughout history, from Mohamed Ali until today, especially after the deterioration it experienced in the 30 years of Mubarak's rule.
The collapse of certain Arab and Muslim states was not due to foreign plots, but to internal errors that opened the door to foreign schemes.
The phenomenon of forced disappearances was unknown to Egypt since the founding of its modern State in 1805. It is now threatening the prestige of the State and shaking people's confidence in it.
A report from the National Human Rights Council, which is not a foreign organization, says 163 people have disappeared since April in 22 different governorates, including 66 cases of people who are still missing, 31 cases the council was not able to follow-up on and 64 cases of people held in detention without cause.
Perhaps the media follow-up of Isra al-Tawil, who disappeared for weeks and reappeared before prosecutors late last week, has raised questions about the reasons for her unjustified disappearance.
Of course, there is no security, political or moral justification for arresting people without telling their families why and where they were arrested. And they should have legal immunity to ensure a fair trial for them.
There might have been individual cases of forced disappearances in Egypt in its modern history, but such a high number is a full-scale catastrophe and proof that there are still those who believe the power of the State can be achieved by tyranny and not by the confidence of the people.
The Egyptian State did not fall because it has, since its establishment, had rules that governed it. There is a difference between the State and the regime. Unlike Syria, Iraq and many Arab countries, the institutions of the Egyptian State have been relatively independent of the regime, although complete neutrality between the regime and the opposition was never reached.
Unfortunately, those rules are collapsing now as certain parties within the State have started to believe that they are above the law and should not be brought to justice. They have forgotten that a practice like forced disappearance could destroy what the Egyptian people have built over the centuries.
Egypt was never a democratic State, but it had never assassinated its opposition in the streets like other countries did. It had never arrested anyone without declaring his place of detention.
A State that respects the law presents evidence to prosecutors to open investigations with alleged conspirators. It does not kidnap citizens, even for one hour, and disclose their whereabouts only when it sees criticism coming from abroad.
Our nation state, our republican system and our Constitution are threatened by our internal wrongdoings, not just foreign plots.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm