Monday, June 05, 2006

5th of June: No politics for you, old man

I just watched an interview on Al 3ashera Masa2an with 72 year old Egyptian war veteran Fouad Hegazi as he recounted the story of his capture by Israel as a prisoner of war in 1967, on this annual occasion of the 5th of June.

He described the most horrific conditions that they were living through for the eight months of their capture, but every time he came to speak of the fault of Nasser in all of this, the interviewer Mona el Shazli cut him off and steered the sweet old man's nostalgia back to his days of misery. (Sample of her more important queries: did you have nightmares in that period in the camp? And what kind were they??!)

Am I the only one who finds this woman extremely unprofessional and annoying?

Despite her suspicious attempts to cover up for Nasser, two telling points managed to come out of this wronged soldier's words:

- He expressed in disappointment how it was in their captivity in 1967 the first time for him and all his fellow soldiers to find out that Egypt was defeated in 1956! Of course the Stalinist dictator had been telling the country otherwise all these years.

- Hegazi said that in the beginning of their capture there were Palestinian, Jordanian and other Arab prisoners with them in Camp. However all these other Arab prisoners were released after only one or two weeks, and it was only the Egyptians who were held there in these miserable conditions for eight whole months. Why? Because Nasser refused to sign a prisoner exchange agreement which would swap about 8,000 Egyptian prisoners of war, for 6 Israeli spies that are held in Egypt, as he argued that military prisoners shouldn't be exchanged for civilians or something like that. 'What stupid laws are you talking about when you have hundreds of your generals and soldiers lying in these conditions?', the man rhetorically and bitterly asked.

Of course she cut him off on both these topics when he came to criticize Nasser, instead the camera periodically cut to shots of her incessant humanitarian crying throughout the interview.

Then close to the end as she mentioned there were only 5 more minutes left for the interview, the man asked her with a kind sorrowful smile: "can we talk politics now?"

To this she looked down at her papers almost in self shame as she said something to the effect of: 'no politics, today is for discussing the human side of the story.'

Then as the clock finally struck she expressed the pinnacle of her human side by wishing the teary man a "happy anniversary on this occasion."

She actually said that.

6 comments:

forsoothsayer said...

i've been thinking about 67.
whose fault really was it? i've heard a lot on both sides.

Mohamed said...

I can't put the fault entirely on 3abdenasser Seneferu, sometimes it's our (meaning the egyptians) own stupidity and irresponsibilty that leads us to some well deserved disasters. Weren't the egyptians the ones who so easily relinquished their democracy and freedom in 1954, then got themselves to believe that the very close call of 56 under the leadership of nasser and the illiterate pot head 3amer was actually a military victory, turning a poster child of defeat and failure like nasser into a hero and a god overnight, only to be fed propaganda songs and movies (Can anything spike your blood pressure more than a movie like Rod Kalby, in which the only sane character in the entire movie (A7mad mazhar) was villified then so joyfully killed by the gardner's son at the end while he was defending his home against his thievery, everything in this movie was so twisted and upside down like the time it was produced in) for the next ten years brainwashing ourselves that we're moving forward forgetting that for nations to progress there must be some good reasons for that, singing "Watany el Akbar" or "soora" isn't one of them (Didn't hekal publish in these days a headline titled "Takadomna azhal el 3alam"), then instead of hanging him from a light post after 67, we were overwhelmed with joy that he so reluctantly accepted the begging of his retarded people, forgetting that in the mean time thousands of young men were dying of thirst in the desert for no reason whatsoever (remember nasser didn't have any intentions to goto war, he just wanted to ye3eesh fedoor el wad el shares el boram beta3 el 7eta 3ashan yetbarmag showaya 3ala sorya), then after his death and until now you'd find that a lot of egyptians think he was a great hero, ironically and sadly enough those who think otherwise most probably would be e'7wan, who are considered by a large majority of the egyptians as the potential saviors of the country, great choice, heh. Can we be more stupid and irresponsible Seneferu?

Seneferu said...

Forsooth,

I'm not the one to make this judgment. But as far as our own side is concerned we know that Nasser sent the army into Sinai, some of them still barefoot and in their galalib, and closed the straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping knowing full well that this meant a declaration of war (this is why he asked Amer if the military were prepared for war, and the latter affirmatively replied: ber2abti ya rayyis).

And from this soldier's testimony we learn that Nasser let down the army 3 times in 1967 alone; before, during and after the war. Before as he denied the soldiers (and indeed the people) any historical sense of what they were getting into (they didn't know anything about 56 all this time). During as he provoked this war after he left the entire Egyptian army exposed and sitting ducks to Israeli fire. And after as he didn't even want them back after their capture.

Seneferu said...

Whatever led you to be so self (as in Egyptian) depreciating, Mohamed?:D

Your main flaw here is that you fail to see that all these works, beginning from rod qalbi to watani el akbar to Mo Goebellein Heikal to the riots for him to return and so on, were all the orchestrated works of the Nasserist state. And from 1954 onwards you underestimate the degree of oppression that happened to anyone who so much as hinted to oppose or even disagree with it.

Which is why it is so disappointing to see someone like this mozee3a silence a veteran from voicing his opinion after all these years.

I would continue posting if it weren't for Blogger trouble that has been preventing me from uploading pictures for a while now.

Mohamed said...

If the Egyptians disliked Nasser all along Seneferu and were just coerced into worshipping him, were they coerced to attend his funeral by the millions, are they still being coerced into loving him till now, I disagree with you on that one, the majority of egyptians don't know history and don't respect it, that's why they're bound to repeat (with more catastrophic end results this time) with their current excitement and fondness of the e'7wan.
Soothsayer, I loved your post about your grandfather, in one paragraph you've mentioned that he joined the communist party in the thirties, did he by any chance happen to know Henry Curiel personally?

Anonymous said...

Senefru,

I agree with you totally. Nasser was a dictator and with the calamity of '67 should go to the dustbin of history.

Egyptian in Germany