Archive for October, 2013

We seem to be an orphaned people whose riches were taken by a few who unrightfully imposed themselves as the elite. These few named themselves “the political forces.” So, we lived as orphans while they lived as those who steal orphans’ money. I don’t think that I am exaggerating even if it may seem so. What I am saying here is an expression, or a reflection, of what is discussed in private and in public throughout Egypt. There is a real anger from those who are attempting to kidnap Egypt and its people once again. The discussions start calmly and then become heated in criticizing those who work, knowingly or unknowingly, to usurp the Egyptian dream of moving towards achieving a modern state.hqdefault

To explain my point I will ask a few legitimate questions, asked by most Egyptians. First, who are the “political forces,” who authorized the stealing of Egyptians’ dreams in order to accomplish their personal goals? What did these forces do to deserve what they’re demanding?

We must not forget that the economic issue is a ticking time bomb nowadays, and will be in the future

 

The truth that nobody has the right to deny is that the Egyptians who took to the streets on June 30 and beyond did not do it in response to any call from these “forces.” Such forces barely reflect the names they have garnered; “the movement,” “the coalition,” “the strong,” “the unity” and its derivatives, “the people and the popular” and so on. These “forces” can barely gather dozens of persons in the streets. These “forces” are the ones who surfaced and started imposing their conditions and dividing the spoils. They gathered riches while the real activists went to the streets and contributed to change without considering those who are attempting today to kill the hopes of the Egyptians’ awakening.

Cheating their way to the top

The leadership of the so-called “political forces” started imposing their conditions on the movement for political change in Egypt, defining the steps to be taken in order to achieve the road map. All the while they are emptying this roadmap towards change of any substance. But this doesn’t mean anything to them as long as these small forces can take some small gain out of it. These small forces claimed to be large as no one came out to contradict them or tell them that they do not represent the Egyptian people.

The problem here is that this illusion risks taking control over the nation’s destiny and future, if they are not stopped by anyone.

They already started acting as if they are the rightful bearers and heroes of the revolution, so we started hearing about the preconditions of this party to participate in the constitutional committee. This didn’t stop here, as the news and rumors started to spread about secret alliances between the parties and sources with the Muslim Brotherhood and their allies in order to create electoral alliances that would guarantee for these “forces” the support of Muslim Brotherhood in order to win a few seats in the parliament, to represent voters who don’t know them and give the Muslim Brotherhood a backdoor to come back to the political scene. I say this to urge patriotic journalists to investigate them and expose them to the public.

Exploiting the people

Members of this lying party, which is based on exploiting the orphaned people, continue their political point scoring. By the amount of noise they make, they seem to be the most democratic and patriotic people. This exaggeration reached a point when a person says openly that those who criticize the absence of the “political forces” don’t know that these “forces” existed before June 30 and that forces were behind the revolution. They claim that the army simply followed the example set by these “forces.” This statement is a joke, and not a funny one. In fact it annoys people and encourages them to turn away from these “forces.”

The bad performance is not exclusive to these “forces,” but it applies to some of those who are in the hot seat, by mistake, and whose appointment is yet another reason to blame the country’s decision makers. Some of these people exaggerate when they claim to know the people’s needs. Meanwhile, the leader of this political faction has lost his position as vice president, however, his legitimacy remains intact, held in place by a travelling deputy prime minister who fails to show up to important events about important issues. We must not forget that the economic issue is a ticking time bomb nowadays, and will be in the future. It seems that he has forgotten the job we assigned him to do and we only see him when he is out to score political points. Many other officials in positions of executive authority are the same, their only aim is personal glory and personal benefits.

As I said before, this is in my opinion the mistake that was committed when the government was formed on the quota basis, only including the country’s “political forces” that I have spoken about. In front of all these, we stand up and ask: Who are you?

This article was first published in al-Masry al-Yawm on Oct. 27, 2013.

A Saudi friend of mine criticized the Egyptian media’s tone towards the Muslim Brotherhood, noting that the media are only reacting to the actual developments without looking into the root of the problem. He even reminded me of an interview given by the late Prince Nayef bin Abdualziz, the former Saudi minister of interior who said 11 years ago that the Muslim Brotherhood “is the source of all evils.” My friend sent me the interview of Prince Nayef , considering that it is important to remember it and use it at this stage, in order to confirm the early detection of the danger that the Muslim Brotherhood present towards the political, social and intellectual structures in the Gulf region. Prince Nayef added in those decade old statements: “Without any hesitation I say it, all of our problems and their repercussions emanated from the Muslim Brotherhood.” He added: “When life became tough on the Muslim Brotherhood and they were facing hanging in their home countries, they took refuge in the kingdom which tolerated them, protected them and gave them the safety they need and our brothers from other Arab countries accepted this situation. But after they spent years among us, we saw that they wanted to work so we facilitated this as some of them were teachers and deans. We opened our schools and universities to them but, unfortunately, they didn’t forget their previous engagement, so they started recruiting people, establishing the movement, and [turned] against the kingdom!” He didn’t forget to mention their stance at the beginning of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, when they issued a statement following their visit to Baghdad in support of the Iraqi invasion.Abdul-Latif-Al-Minawi

The relationship between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Gulf countries started in Saudi Arabia. It began with the first political movement of the Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna during the hajj season, when he met the late King Abdulaziz al-Saud in 1936 and asked his permission for establishing a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in Saudi Arabia. The king refused at that time and said: “We are all Muslims and we are all brothers so you have nothing new to offer us here.” But, soon enough the Brotherhood grew as an intellectual movement and its members started gaining power as individuals within the kingdom. The relationship with them was good, in the early days, but it took a different turn during the Yemeni revolution, when the Brotherhood had a different opinion to the Saudis. The Muslim Brotherhood supported the revolution while King Abdulaziz was against it, and this has negatively affected the relationship between Brotherhood and the kingdom.

Other Gulf countries

The Brotherhood experience in the other Gulf countries is very similar. They migrated from Egypt during Gamal Abdul Nasser’s era after their clash with the regime, as they tried to overthrow it. King Saud mediated with Abdul Nasser to solve the issue, and the problems were relatively solved, but the Brotherhood returned to their attempts to overthrow the regime, so the conflict escalated.

The fleeing members of the organization found in the host countries a safe haven to expand and enhance their presence

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

The fleeing members of the organization found in the host countries a safe haven to expand and enhance their presence in education and economy. The Brotherhood dominated teaching at the universities in the 1970s and the 1980s, and they gained control of many media platforms and religious forums. The Brotherhood expanded and organized themselves under the noses of the Gulf governments most of the time, without that these governments realizing that they were feeding a monster in their backyard. The governments believed that a mixture of support and containment could ensure stability, but they didn’t realize that they were turning the Gulf region intro a stronghold and platform for the Brotherhood to execute their plans. For example, the international movement of the Brotherhood used to hold its meeting in Makkah and Madina during the hajj season, as prominent Brotherhood member Yusuf al-Qaradawi himself said once, he who orchestrated the deal between the Brotherhood and Qatar, which resulted in dissolving the Brotherhood branch in Qatar in exchange of unlimited support of the international organization.

After the political deal during Sadat era, prominent Muslim Brotherhood member Ibrahim al-Hudaiby visited Saudi Arabia and held, in 1971, an expanded meeting for the organization, in which the regional face of the organization started to take shape. The meeting boasted the participation of Brotherhood members from Bahrain, the UAE and Kuwait. In spite of this geographic expansion many thought that the Gulf members’ role was limited to fundraising. The truth is that the Gulf Muslim Brotherhood wasn’t content with collecting donations in public streets and mosques, and they weren’t limiting their activities to supporting widows and orphans. Instead, they became a strong economic and political arm of the group in Egypt, and the worst was that the Gulf branch adopted the rebellious thoughts in the GCC, as the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan once said.

The Gulf branch of the Muslim Brotherhood has strong ties with it Egyptian roots, and it follows the same school of thought. Some look surprised when they hear about this relationship, as if they forget that they follow the same school of thought, and the Brotherhood became so dangerous that the UAE minister of foreign affairs had to expose them publicly. The arrest of the Brotherhood network in UAE, with members admitting they had plans to overthrow GCC governments, is clear evidence of the Brotherhood pay back to those who offered them shelter when they were being pursued.

In the statement I mentioned earlier, Prince Nayef tells a story about a man, without naming him, he said: “I remember that one of Muslim Brotherhood leaders received Saudi nationality and lived in the kingdom for 40 years. And when he was asked about his role model, he answered: “My role model in Hassan al-Banna.”

 

This article was first published in al-Masry al-Yawm on Oct. 25, 2013.

The Arabic Al-Waseetdictionary defines the term ‘Sheikh’ as someone who has reached an old age, older than middle aged but before reaching senility. Therefore I will describe Youssef al-Qaradawi as sheikh since he is older than 50 years old. However, not everyone who carries this description enjoys a certain immunity or respect.download (1)

I hesitated a lot before writing about Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Qatari sheikh who carried Egyptian nationality but took another passport to enter his former country, Egypt. I noticed early on his voracity to avenge and possess. I remember when unknown parties carried him to head the prayers at Tahrir Square on the next Friday after Hosni Mubarak was toppled. It wasn’t understood back then how and why did this man come to jump over the heads and shoulders of the masses of protestors and infiltrators.

However, I feel there is some clarity now. After he was revered during the Tahrir protests, he began to visit Egypt more. He made sure to lead wherever he went. He took it upon himself to market the intellect of the organization to which he belongs and he was assigned by parties, which remain unknown until now, to carry out this role. Worth noting, he was responsible for dissolving the Muslim Brotherhood in Qatar and of halting its activity in exchange of promising full support to the group internationally. More on that later. Qaradawi continued to involve himself in al-Azhar, the most important institution in the Islamic world. There were rumors that preparations were underway to achieve his dream of taking over the grand imam’s post which was then held by Imam Doctor Ahmad al-Tayeb. After Mohamed Morsi hijacked the presidency, the doors were open for Sheikh Qaradawi.

True Intentions Revealed

Like many others, Qardawi could not handle the Egyptians’ awakening and toppling of the Brotherhood from governance and the presidency. Egypt’s revolution shocked him and left him angry and confused and he became incapable of controlling his actions or statements.

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

Qardawi became an unwelcomed guest by the Egyptians who knew what his true intentions with more and more people becoming aware daily. What was painful is how he occupied al-Azhar Mosqe podium. During that phase, no one had the right to object to the country’s rulers, the Muslim Brotherhood. However, the Qatari sheikh delivered Friday sermons several times from al-Azhar and called on people to support the Brotherhood and its project which carried the name of Ennahda (The Renaissance) and which the Egyptians saw nothing in other than destruction.

Like many others, Qardawi could not handle the Egyptians’ awakening and toppling of the Brotherhood from governance and the presidency. Egypt’s revolution shocked him and left him angry and confused and he became incapable of controlling his actions or statements. This was apparent from his angry rhetoric, insulting to Egyptians and to the country he used to belong to. Even the grand imam, known for his tolerance, was not spared from Qaradawi’s insults.

The imam did not respond to Qardawi and even refused to discuss the idea of expelling Qardawi from the committee of al-Azhar scholars. Qardawi’s insults did not spare Ali Jomaa either, Egypt’s former mufti. Qaradawi surprised everyone with the criticism he directed towards Jomaa, claiming he was the man behind poisonous fatwas (religious edicts), suspicious orders and politicized rulings. He also caleed Jomaa’s ugly in childish and reckless statements.

Qardawi on the offensive

In an article called, “The coup against legitimacy,” Qaradawi says “Al-Azhar’s turban and its sheikh’s beard should not have been contaminated by those whom the past few days revealed they have bad intentions as they seek power at the expanse of the martyrs’ blood and the liberals’ remains.” He also said: “corruption spread in different Egyptian institutions and al-Azhar is the first of institutions where corruption spread.” This is only a sample of Qaradawi’s continuous violations against al-Azhar. Sources at Al-Azhar Supreme Scholars committee, which Qaradawi is a member of, said that Qardawi’s statements published on his website upset many scholars at the committee. Sheikh Mahmoud Ashur, al-Azhar former undersecretary, commented saying “everything that Qardawi says has nothing to do with Islam.” He noted that Qaradawi, who is 87 years old, has become irresponsible for what he currently says.”

Al-Azhar refused to officially comment on Qaradawi’s statement and said “Al-Azhar and its sheikh are (of a) greater (status) than to respond to such statements.” The newest attack from Qaradawi was his shameful attack on the Egyptian army it, stating, “: “The Egyptian army was defeated at three wars in 1948, 1958 and 1976. It only won one war in 1973.” Some citizens filed a complaint to the Egyptian attorney general accusing Qaradawi of inciting violence against Egyptian soldiers. Only several days ago, he called on the Egyptian soldiers not to obey the commands of their officers. The sheikh has become a symbol of Islam in the Muslim Brotherhood. He said whoever attacks the Brotherhood is the enemy of Islam. Each day, he loses the respect of others.

This article was first published in al-Jarida on Oct. 19, 2013.

Like many Egyptians, I stopped watching any international or local sports event, especially when those events were accompanied by violent incidents that became a constant feature in Egypt.hqdefault

Add that to the profound state of frustration that haunted us for months and made Egyptians lack interest in sports. But this time, things have changed. After the Egyptian revolution against the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood and after retrieving our kidnapped nation, hope found its way back to us and we got back the will to live.

The football match between Egypt and Ghana on Tuesday came at the right time to fulfill our dream to reach the World Cup in Brazil, a dream that took around 24 years to come and will seemingly now be delayed further.

We felt the need to accomplish a quick achievement that would concretize the notion of us getting back to ordinary life. We wanted to achieve an old dream even if we had insufficient tools.

‘Egyptians deserve to be happy’

People were saying “we deserve to be happy” and others said “people are tired, the national team really need to cheer us up.” This is why we had high hopes for our national team’s game against Ghana. In fact, the much-circulated question between friends and acquaintances was “where are you going to watch the game?” We lived a moment of fantasy and enthusiasm, and we wanted to relive the taste of being alive.

We lost the game and our dreams have collided but, on the other hand, we won our reality.

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

Some even went to the extent of paying for Egyptian fans to travel in special airplanes to Ghana. Others started recalling the ambiance of our famous match against the Algerian team in Sudan a few years ago. Ideas were put forward to motivate the fans to encourage the team. This required of course thinking about procedures to protect Egyptians there, but a reasonable voice was questioning “what if we lose the game there in light of the emotional constraints and a betting war linked to 22 pairs of shoes erupts?” This rational voice influenced the way to deal with the match at this level.

However, on the public level, everyone had high hopes to reach this moment of happiness. Whether the hopes had substance or not, was not important. What was actually important is that we were tired and needed to restore happiness in our lives, this is why we waited for the game.

At that time, phones stopped receiving greeting messages for Eid al-Adha, which was more cheerful and different this year. All phone calls stopped and all eyes, hearts and emotions were directed to the game that was going to be broadcasted by Egyptian television in collaboration with Ghana’s television, even though the Qatari channel has warned and threatened the Egyptian channel stating that it is the only channel that can broadcast the game. It obliged its Egyptian commentators to read the warnings every few minutes.

Egyptians mocked those threats as the brothers of the “sister” country ordered that a high-ranked Egyptian official calls another high-ranked official in Qatar asking for his permission to broadcast the game, not knowing that things have changed in Egypt. Nothing can oblige an Egyptian official to give up his right or stance even if it will result in temporary material loss. Therefore, the general attitude was to refuse the Qatari orders even if it resulted in not watching the game. Such stance was certainly to gain popular support even if the game wasn’t to be broadcasted.

What happened next?

The game started and it was clear that the team’s members were in a state of fragmentation and confusion. A friend commented that politics seem to have intervened in the stadium.

I do not want to go back to the 90 minutes that caused us case of unprecedented high blood pressure, neither to the state of temporary frustration that we are going through, but I will only state a few remarks and results that I find important. I will start with the above-mentioned remark; that the political conflict was preset on the field when Mohammad Aboutrika, a player in the national team, scored the only goal in a penalty. His support of the Muslim Brotherhood has been made clear recently. During the match, he refused to shake hands with his nationals and even ignored his teammate who tried to greet him. He seemed angry with a shaggy beard. Some have even asked if he has prayed after the game thanking God that the “rebellion” team was defeated!

Still, there is a positive side to what happened. It is true that the Egyptian team in addition to their coach Bradley wrecked the Egypt’s dream to reach Brazil but there was a positive side in all of that. Achieving a quick victory was enough to create a state of numbness to a considerable part of the population. Some will even feel that the Egyptians wanted to gain back what they missed; which would be in fact an unreal illusion. The reality is that we have missed a lot and we desperately need to compensate that, not only in football but also in all other important fields. Winning, despite its psychological importance, would have triggered a fake felling of euphoric force. Many of whom I talked to after the game thought about it in the same way, and this is a proof that Egyptians have changed and became more realistic.

We lost the game and our dreams have collided but, on the other hand, we won our reality. We have missed out a lot and we need true efforts to achieve our most important dream: creating a new Egypt.

This article was first published in al-Masry al-Youm on Oct. 19, 2013.

At a private dinner in the British capital, I asked a veteran politician – I will keep his name anonymous – about Egypt’s relations with America. He – who is very close to the decision-making circle there – said: “Sustain the road map and do not take into consideration any other process because there is no one in America against Egypt.” Two days later, a U.S. decision to partially suspend military aid to Egypt was issued. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry commented saying “this is not, in any way, a withdrawal from our commitment or the termination of our efforts to help the government.” Such a comment leads to Egyptian backlash, all of which leads to the campaign that some newspapers launched via their headlines: “U.S. aid can go to hell.”Abdul-Latif-Al-Minawi

This is a sample of the most refined expressions floated in this heated atmosphere. Not surprising since the U.S. position has traumatized the people’s will several times since the June 30 revolution. The words of the U.S. politician at the dinner I attended may seem true regarding his advice to proceed with the road map, but I believe he was just being courteous or he was not aware of what he said when he stressed that no one is against Egypt. What is sure is that there are influential groups that may be personally headed by Obama who preached after the fall of their previous ally Mursi that the American-Egyptian relations will not return to normal again.

Turning away

America has turned its back on the Egyptians, as Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said. Egyptian people do not understand the American position that insists on retaining the role of the Brotherhood in Egyptian politics, despite what the Brotherhood has done to Egypt and the Egyptian people.

Will Egypt surrender to this decision? Will it try to appease Obama and those around him?

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

This includes the Brotherhood-led violence and terror that burned Egypt through armed sit-ins, destruction of institutions and official and civilian installations, burning churches, destruction of hospitals, universities and museums, creating a state of organized terrorism that strained the country and then led to its collapse. Egyptians think that America is waging a war against Egypt under a loose slogan of promoting democracy. They believe that America is following two main strategies to achieve this; the first is the partial suspension of military aid to Egypt, and the second is supporting terrorism, extremism and armed groups to drain the Egyptian economy, provoke the army and police on the streets and destroy Egypt’s basic economic resources.

The U.S. administration could not understand the nature and importance of the relations between the two countries, which were established in the nineteenth century upon signing the business treaty between America and Turkey on May 7, 1830. Afterwards, the relations were officially recognized and a U.S. consulate was opened in 1832. As for the military relations between Egypt and the United States, they began in 1976 and soon these relations evolved and Egypt occupied second place in the list of countries that receive U.S. military aid. After reaching an agreement between the two countries, a plan to improve the Egyptian armed forces was implemented and through this Egypt became one of the countries that was able to acquire American loans to buy U.S. weapons, known as a foreign military sales loan. Before their last provocative decision, the agreement allowed the U.S. to annually provide $1.55 billion in aid to Egypt, including $1.3 billion for the army.

What happens now?

Will Egypt surrender to this decision? Will it try to appease Obama and those around him? I think that the answer is decisive at this stage because Egypt is no longer the old Egypt that the Americans got used to. The desire and ability to challenge have reached their heyday, and this is what triggered the official severe reaction that described the U.S. decision as erroneous in terms of content and timing. It clearly pointed out that Egypt will continuously and systematically work to ensure its “vital needs,” especially the national security requirements. Observers saw that as a clear allusion to the possibility of receiving arms and needs from alternative sources. In the same context, an official military source announced that if the U.S. cuts the military aid, the armed forces will be free to get armaments and spare parts from all countries of the world, especially other super powers.

They say every cloud has a silver lining. Therefore, such a decision will make Egypt reconsider the idea of relying on one single international power and may encourage them to give up on U.S. aid. At that time it will have to increase its choices and sources, particularly in terms of arms. Considering this, China, Russia and India are among the strongest forces. Another important point is that the events of July 3rd and what Egypt was subjected to after the retreat of international powers such as the United States and the West, proved that some Arab countries will always provide the real support for Egypt. This is the perfect time to take serious steps towards rebuilding and restructuring Egyptian-Arab relations for the regional and international maintenance and cohesion of the Arab world. The possibility of an important Arab axis include potential interest from the likes of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
This article was first published in al-Jarida on Oct. 12, 2013.

Some may disagree when evaluating former Egyptian President Mohammad Hosni Mubarak. But it’s unjust to underestimate the value and role of Mohammad Hosni Mubarak as a pilot.download (2)

I will never forgot a comment made by one of my English friends during the phase of humiliating Mubarak, trying him, transferring him from his home to hospital then to the cage which was specifically built for him under the supervision of the relevant minister at the time and his return to jail. Back then, my friend inquired: “Didn’t Mubarak once fight in the army?”

I told him that Mubarak actually participated in three wars, the Suez War in 1956, the June War in 1967 and finally, the October War in 1973 which is really the most important victory in Arabs’ history. Upon hearing this answer my friend was surprised over the humiliation Mubarak was subjected to and said: “If he were in our country, the situation would be different. This is a man who fought for his country (jeopardizing his life) not once but several times. To be a fighter for the sake of your country is of great value.”

‘Tools of justice’

God was patient with Mubarak as he granted him the chance to restore some respect after all he’s been through following the collapse of his regime in February 2011.

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

Trying the former president wasn’t the cruelest of actions against him. I think the cruelest of actions was the moment when they decided to strip him of his medals and decorations. I think stripping him of the Sinai medal was the most painful for him. Many, including myself, think that holding a politician accountable should be carried out through political acts. The latter can be carried out by resorting to tools of democratic change, protesting or implementing civil disobedience, ousting him or even staging a coup against him. But I do not agree that the tools of justice should be used to impose a vengeful punishment that carries a different name but has one result and involves adopting uncivilized behavior to achieve vengeance.

Mubarak ruled Egypt for 30 years. Some consider this phase as three decades of darkness, dictatorship, humiliation, corruption, theft and regression. On the other hand, there is a huge segment of the population which believes that Mubarak managed to be successful at some points and unsuccessful at others. They also think that if he had decided to withdraw from public life following the death of his grandchild and the serious operation he had, he would’ve marked his name in history with eternal letters and he would’ve had a special place in the Egyptian people’s hearts. There’s a third party however that totally believes in Mubarak and calls itself “Mubarak’s sons.” This party believes that Mubarak has done nothing wrong. Their stance was strengthened by the manner in which the Muslim Brotherhood ran the country. As a result of the MB’s rule, many people began to miss life under Mubarak’s reign.

Pilot or president?

As we see, the apparent disagreements over evaluating Mubarak are understandable. What isn’t understandable however is the fierce criticism that was levied not against Mubarak the president, but against Mubarak the fighter pilot. Some spoke out undermining his role during the October War. Some even went as far as undermining the role of the Egyptian Air Force in the war claiming that what’s been said about the Mubarak’s role was mere exaggeration in favor of the air force leader who became the country’s president. This stance expressed a tangible decline in the mentality of some Egyptians blinded by anger and by the desire to achieve a vendetta. These negative feelings led them to kill the value of an honorable part of their history and their country’s history- the major and brave role of the Egyptian Air Force during the October war.

God was patient with Mubarak as he granted him the chance to restore some respect after all he’s been through following the collapse of his regime in February 2011. The anniversary of the October victory came before he was convicted of any of the charges levied against him. Most importantly, the role of the air force was brought up during this anniversary. Fate was on his side as the diaries he wrote when he was vice-president on the role of the Air Force, which he led in the October War, highlighted his real character as a military commander and a fighter pilot. I think that “Mubarak the fighter pilot” may be one of the happiest people these days as he celebrates the October victory in which he and his comrades played an important role in, a role that history will not forget even if the situation appears differently at times.

Life before

A young Mohammad Hosni Mubarak joined the military academy in 1947. He graduated in 1949 and in 1950 he graduated from the Air Force academy. He participated in the 1967 War. After that, president Gamal Abdel Nasser decided to assign him as commander of the Air Force Academy in Nov. 1967 then in June 1969, he assigned him as chief of staff of the Egyptian Air Force. In April 1972, President Anwar al-Sadat issued a decision to assign him as commander of the Air Force. He was also assigned as deputy minister of defense – in addition to his other post. The mission was clear: prepare the air force for a massive liberation war that restores all land and remove any trace of shame the air force as a result of the 1967 defeat.

At 2 p.m. on Oct. 6 forty years ago, 222 jets took off crossing the Suez Canal. At 2:45 p.m. the phone at the armed forces’ headquarters rang. The phone call went as follows: “The mission has been completely accomplished at the specified times. All of our jets returned except for one and its pilot was martyred.” This was the script of the phone call made by Major General Hosni Mubarak.

This article was first published in al-Jarida on Oct. 5, 2013.

‘Take care of Egypt’

Posted: October 3, 2013 in Alarabiya

It was both thrilling and strange to hear the song Teslam al-Ayadi (which is dedicated to the Egyptian armed forces) as we approached the U.N. headquarters in New York. The sound increased as we neared. We could also hear people chanting enthusiastically for Egypt as the song played. When we arrived there, we saw that many were so excited they could not hold back their tears. There were men, women, children, Muslims and Copts. All of them chanted enthusiastically as they genuinely smiled.Abdul-Latif-Al-Minawi

These people celebrated the restoration of their country although they are thousands of miles away. They celebrated the restoration of a hijacked country which all Egyptians thought would remain in an unrestored state. But it was God’s will that the country’s own sons protect it and save it from an unknown future. The country was thus liberated by the people and the army and we restored what we thought was lost forever. It thus made sense to find a banner reading “our army is the people and our people is the army.” The expression seems complicated but it truly expresses the Egyptians’ feelings. All Egyptians realized this truth which some tried to conceal. Circumstances that surrounded Egypt during the past years helped achieve the latter aim and crated some sort of separation between the people and the army. But proper understanding and trust in the army’s role in forming the Egyptian state was restored. The Egyptians rediscovered their army. They thus wiped the dust off the eternal relationship between  the army and the people.

Rallies for and against

As a group, which included well-known artists and media and political figures, marched towards the rally, a Black-American man with a beard decided to walk with the group and insisted, in a strange manner, on chanting against the army and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Abdelfattah al-Sissi. He refused to hear any other opinion and he remained as such for about 15 minutes – which is how long it took us to reach the location of the rally in front of the U.N.. I linked this scene to what I later learnt; that many mosques during Friday prayers called for protests the following day – the same day of the protest in support of the Egyptians’ choice and decisions.

Egyptians rediscovered their army. They wiped the dust off the eternal relationship between the army and the people

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

But, the former protest was called on in order to voice support for the Muslim Brotherhood. New York did in fact witness two protests at the same time. But the difference between them was huge. The one in support of the Egyptians’ choice was full of happiness and hope as a result of restoring the country. You can sense the amount of pride felt about belonging to Egypt. The other protest however was dominated by anger, sadness and depression. But the biggest difference between the two protests lied in the nature of protesters. Those who participated in the former one were all Egyptians. The latter protest included some Egyptians who are deceived and incapable of properly eyeing the situation and thus committed to obedience. The majority of people who participated in this protest were Pakistanis and Afghanis in addition to other nationalities. The huge expenditure on this protest failed to conceal the truth that these protesters are not defending a country but are implementing the orders of an organization either out of conviction or in exchange of financial benefits.

One of the scenes that touched me is when an old man insisted to talk to me. I headed towards him to see what he wants. He warmly welcomed me and said in a mixture of worry, happiness and fear: “take care of Egypt. Please take care of it. Don’t lose it again.”

On our way back, an Egyptian family stopped us to ask about the location of the rally. Their young boy who was around six-years-old was wearing a costume that resembles a military outfit. We directed them to where the rally was and I gave the boy the flag I had with me so he can raise it as he shares with the real Egyptians their happiness and pride in themselves, their army and their country.

 

This article was first published in al-Masry al-Youm on Oct. 2, 2013.