Monday, January 02, 2006

We Have a Street Named After This Clown

We have a main street in Cairo named after this clown. The man in the picture is Salah Salem, one of the more notorious members of the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), Nasser's gang. This was his idea of appealing to the people of Southern Sudan. The picture was taken in Febuary 1954 in the Sudan, in a delegation the RCC sent to talk about the future of Egypt and Sudan. More importantly, it's purpose was to spread false rumours to the Sudanese leaders about President Naguib being a dictator (Oh, the irony of this claim), to try to push him out of the picture. As you can imagine, the Sudanese people were not very flattered by these pictures.

Another brilliant goon from the "expedition" of Salah Salem to the Sudan. The caption below the picture reads: "Egyptian Tarzan in the Sudan!...He is not "Tarzan", he is Colonel Gamal Thabet, one of the companions of the North's expedition to the South. He was inspired by the beauty of nature in the South, so he climbed trees and screamed in the way of "Tarzan"!

The RCC's ploys against Naguib would fail, and the Sudanese leaders would stick to their demand that Naguib remain president of the republic for the Egyptian-Sudanese federation to work. Their logic, which they said to Nasser, was understandable: if the RCC had committed this treachery against the beloved Naguib, then why should they feel safe about themselves? Nasser would respond harshly, and the Sudanese press and people would label his regime for the fascist dictatorship that it is. Relations between the two countries would deteriorate as never before, and the federation would forever be lost.

Of course, Egypt's loss of the Sudan was a major political catastrophe of public opinion back then, as the future of the Sudan had been the main stumbling block which prevented the successive Egyptian parliamentary govenments from reaching a deal with Great Britain on the evacuation the rest of its forces from the Suez Canal. So Nasser, whose favourite book growing up was "The Prince" by Machiavelli (really!...and no wonder!), would turn againt none other the swinging man in the picture above, offering him as the sacrificial lamb for the special occasion, and Salah Salem would soon submit his resignation.

What a colourful history, but the question now is...why is this man's name still on our street?

*All photos taken from Masr El Mahroussa magazine, October 2002 edition. Original pictures from the archives of Al Mossawer photo journalistic magazine.


Egyptian Bet said...

No comment!!!!!!

Ayyam said...

Interesting post...I should have read more about that!..But..where did you get this information from, (just one reference would be fine)...I know that Our "beloved" Nasser fooled Egyptian when said we ask the Sudanese people to make up their choice about whether they want to stay in the with us or not? Also no one ever explained why the Sudanese preferred to split with us....As for Salah Salem’s name on the street, I don’t really see why it should be there!

Seneferu said...

Hi Ayyam,

Read Naguib's autobiography. I'm not sure about the Machiavelli part anymore, because I can't remember where I read it.

yitz said...

On the street itself, Salah Salem that is, it passes thru the City of the Dead. Can anyone tell me if the street was paved over gravesites? This has great significance to me. Thanks