Sharm el Sheikh: Mubarak Hits the Ousted Leader Jackpot

Jeanne Sager

Hosni MubarakHosni Mubarak may be stepping down, but the Egyptian dictator president is still coming out the winner. His "exile" from Cairo is both self-imposed and happening in some plush digs. He'll be putting up his feet in Sharm el-Sheikh, a resort town on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula.

It's a town that boasts beautiful beaches, discos, world class hotels, and its own Hard Rock Cafe. So I guess we can add Mubarak to the list of world leaders whose fall from grace was anything but painful, huh? Let's see how Sharm el-Sheikh measures up:

Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, Haitian dictator, fled in 1986.

  • Exiled to: France
  • Lifestyle: For a time there, quite luxurious. He had a villa in the hills above Cannes, a chateau outside Paris, and two apartments in the city. He later divorced and fell on rough times, but all is rosy for Baby Doc these days; he got a hero's welcome back in Haiti this year.

Napoleon Bonaparte, French emperor.

  • Exiled to: Elba (the first time), an island off the coast of Italy
  • Lifestyle: Luxe. He had 1,000 "personal" escorts, a household staff, and he was named "emporer" of Elba and given rule over the residents.
  • Exiled to: St. Helena (the second time), an island half the size of Elba off the coast of Africa
  • Lifestyle: Not bad. The Brits who controlled St. Helena kept him and his men plied with food and booze daily, but he was notably cranky as his hosts wouldn't call him "your majesty." Poor little man.

Idi Amin, Ugandan dictator otherwise know as the "Butcher of Uganda," fled in 1979.

  • Exiled to: Tripoli, Italy, but moved on to Saudi Arabia
  • Lifestyle: Quiet but anything but poor. Amin spent the last 24 years of his life close to home and refusing interviews, but he had a Range Rover, a Chevrolet Caprice, and a powder-blue Cadillac all at his disposal. Relatives kept up a steady supply of his favorite Ugandan foodstuffs.

Slobodan Milosevic, Yugoslavian head of state known as the "Butcher of the Balkans," ousted in 2000.

  • Exiled to: Russia ... but only members of his family got to enjoy it. He was instead put up on trial in the Hague for his war crimes and died in prison before the trial ended.
  • Lifestyle: Miserable -- befitting his crimes.

Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisian president, ousted this year.

  • Exiled to: Saudi Arabia
  • Lifestyle: Hard to say so far, but his wife, Leila Trabelsi, got out of Tunisia with £35 million worth of gold, and the couple's daughter is holed up in Disneyland Paris. Not too shabby, huh?

Mobutu Sese Seko, Zaire president, fled in 1997.

  • Exiled to: Morocco
  • Lifestyle: Would have been a lot nicer if he wasn't suffering from prostate cancer. He died that year.

Erich and Margot Honecker, East Germany's head-of-state, and his wife, the education minister, fled in 1991.

  • Exiled to: Fled to Moscow but were ordered out of the country by Boris Yeltsin. Erich was sent back to Germany stand trial, but Margot moved on to Chile to be with her daughter, and Erich later joined them.
  • Lifestyle: Erich died of cancer in 1994, but Margot has continued to bilk the German government. She allegedly picks up a pension check every month.

So let's add this up. Hosni Mubarak gets to stay in Egypt. He isn't on trial or in prison. He doesn't have cancer.

He may be the winner of the ousted leader pool. What do you think?


Image via Muhammad/Flickr

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