Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Yes to Peace for Egypt

* المقالة بالعربى: نعم للسلام من أجل مصر

Yes to Peace
for Egypt
Before it is for Israel

It Shoots Further Than He Dreams by John F. Knott. First published on March 26, 1918. (photograph)
      When Ismail Sidqi pasha refused that Egypt would get-in the war of 1948, he wasn’t a traitor to Egypt or loving Israel. All about it is that Ismail Sidqi was responsible for an economic renaissance in Egypt; he was the one to develop Alexandria and its beaches... The man feared that the war would destroy all the economic steps which Egypt took in the past years preceding the war.
But, Ismail Sidqi didn’t continue on his stance, El-Wafd party took a populist stance and went with the flow, supporting the war decision. Ismail Sidqi felt as a politician that he would lose people if he kept his stance, so he withdrew and supported the war, preferring popularity between the people over the interest of Egypt.
We are all subjected to Ismail Sidqi’s situation and we are required to to ask many questions, such as: Is this war in the interest of Egypt? Are we obliged to get involved into the war? Would we choose between the interest of Egypt and our desire to go with the flow along with the crowds to achieve personal political gains? This article discusses these barbed questions.

      Firstly: Peace and Democracy
We all know that Egypt had a democratic parliamentary life till the coup d’état of 1952, and since this coup till this moment, we suffer from a totalitarian bloody militarist rule. But, we have to ask ourselves: Why did a coup happen? Does that have a relation with the case of peace and war?
The historical sequencing of events... Egypt entered a war in 1948 despite it wasn’t qualified to fight Israel from the side of development of weapons and efficiency of combatants, so this war changed two important elements:
1- Egypt’s commitment to the treaty of 1936 concerning to the evacuation of the British of Egypt. The treaty included the emergence of the British army after 20 years (in 1956) on a condition that the Egyptian army be advanced and able to defend Egypt. The palace deliberately intended to plunge Egypt to the war, from one hand for king Farouk’s desire for becoming a caliph of Muslims and on another hand, to destroy the Egyptian army, therefore to disable the evacuation process. That exactly what happened, after the defeat of the Egyptian army in the war, the weakness of the Egyptian army appeared to everyone, everything which was already built inside the army was destroyed, therefore, Egypt lagged what it pledged in the treaty of 1936, therefore, the evacuation won’t be on its time... That resulted dangerous political complications, most importantly the cancelation of the treaty of 1936, cutting-off of the diplomatic solution to solve the conflict, which paved the ground for a coup d’état solution to the evacuation issue. The war occurred on the way of Egypt independence.
2- The Egyptian soldiers were subjected to a huge defeat in the war of 1948, the toughest of it was the fall of many Egyptian soldiers under the siege of the Israeli army, the Egyptian soldiers became under the mercy of the Israelis who allowed the passage of food to them in order not to die of hunger. Then, in February 1949, Egypt was compelled to sign the armistice agreement with Israel in order to be able to get back its besieged soldiers. Those soldiers came back to Egypt in shame and dishonor (Gamal Abdel Nasser was personally of them), they went to a war and strongly lost it and were besieged, because of them Egypt was compelled to sign an armistice agreement with Israel to get them back.
In order for those soldiers to take away their shame of themselves, they created the lie of the corrupt weapons, despite the nonexistence of any proof on it. When the judiciary investigated in these rumors and proved their falsehood, they accused the regime of corruption. They didn’t have the courage to admit that the war was lost because of their failure. Starting from here, the claims to cleaning the army began, so the movement of the soldiers happened, which was at its beginning (as the statement of Muhammad Naguib) a movement of military soldiers aiming at cleaning the army, then the army would move back to its barracks. But, after the soldiers found themselves in control of everything, they didn’t abandon the authority, despite that the revolution court proved the nonexistence of any corrupt weapons in the war of 1948 which was the rumor that the coup d’état happened for.
We lost democracy and we suffered from oppression for 60 years, we were obliged to make the 25 January revolution, all of that because of a rumor or the soldiers shy of their defeat in the war of 1948. If we hadn’t entered the war, there wouldn’t had been the defeat and there would had been the rumor, there would had been the coup d’état and we would have been now celebrating 90 years of parliamentary democracy in Egypt. The relationship between peace and democracy is very strong. War opens the door for internal tyranny under the slogans “military secrets, the homeland interest, national security, no voice comes above the battle”. In wars, countries enforce “state of emergency/marshal law”, these are procedures to limit freedoms of citizens, not the enemies. In wars, armies inflate, opening the way for military coups (that’s why Ancient Rome banned the entrance for armies to the capital). Moreover, tyrants exploit wars to turn away the attention of their peoples from democratic reform, we all see how Arab tyrants exploit Israel to distract the Arab peoples from democratic reform issues and to distort the image of honorable opponents with silly charges of the type “Zionism, normalization, agent...”.

      Secondly: Peace and Economic Growth
Regardless od the case of Ismail Sidqi which started my article with, Tawfik el-Hakim narrates, in his masterpiece “The Return of Consciousness”, information uncovering for us how wars destroyed the Egyptian economy.
- Tawfik el-Hakim narrates how the Egyptian army, under commands of Nasser, threw sacks of gold to the tribes of Yemen during the Yemen war, in order to sway them to the Egyptian side, which cause the depletion of the Egyptian gold stock... At the time when simple Egyptians were happy with Nasser who made them employees in the government, earning a few Egyptian pounds monthly!
- Tawfik also includes, the cost that Egypt paid during the 6 years between 1967 and 1973. He spread the numbers and said that what Egypt spent on the wars, if it had been spent on internal development, the share for each village would have been a million dollars (noting the difference between the value of the currency at that time; a million dollars in 1967 is equivalent to 5 million dollar by today’s standards). Imagine, what would Egypt look like now if we didn’t enter those wars, and spending this money on building schools, hospitals, streets and developing the civil society? What’s really silly is the governmental non-sense, in order to escape this question says that Israel was the one to start the war and occupied Sinai, when in reality, Nasser had announced the war in his speech on 15 July, 1967, before that he had used the right of land blockade against Israel which is of the rights of the the belligerent country... That if we ignored the historical novel which says that the decision to expel the international forces was taken by the Field Marshal “Abdel Hakim Amer” without Nasser knowledge, at the time when the Field Marshal the Army Chief of Staff, contesting Nasser in his authority!
Taking a look at the world around us... Look how America was hit from its war budgets and how America is solving the problem now by pulling its armies from Iraq and Afghanistan, also by dismantling some of the military bases in Europe.
See how the civil war weakened the Somali people and turned them into poor people despite the natural resources which Somalia has. See how the nuclear ambition of North Korea transformed the citizens into poor people, thousands of them die of hunger monthly. Look at the Axis countries in the second world war (Japan, Germany, Italy) and how they entered the war as strong countries and went out of it smashed under foreign occupation, and still are paying the price of this war till our day.
Peace is the strategic choice for all the people who want to live in luxury. On the other hand, the people who choose the wars would suffer poverty forever till they realize that wars drain their resources and the effort of their people.

      Thirdly: Peace and Life of Humans
Does the one who takes the decision of war realize that he is making a decision of execution tens of thousands of humans, including who are going to have permanent disabilities in the war? The life of the one who takes the decision of the war won’t be subjected to danger, he would keep sitting in his air-conditioned office in the capital, while the youth and the patriots from both side are paying their souls because of the failure of the political leadership in reaching a diplomatic peaceful solution.
I can’t believe any official numbers regarding the Egyptian victims in our wars with Israel. Some militarists estimated the victims of Egypt in the war of 1973 as million martyrs! Other than the injured, the lost and the prisoners of war. I can say that when Israel aired the documentary “Spirit of Shaked” about executing Egyptian prisoners of war, Egyptians asked themselves if there were still Egyptian prisoners of war in Israel, but none of the officials knew the answer of the question.
What is the reason to make a country enters a war to lose its youth and the rest lose their limbs, imagine the population percentage between both genders (as what happened in Germany after the second world war, the percentage was one man for every 5 women)! Why all that when there are alternative solutions to solve conflicts?
I know that in the last decades, suicidal orientations have appeared under the naming “martyrdom.. industry of death, asceticism in life, challenging death...), but here I speak to reasonable who seek the interest of their homeland and not committing suicide, who search for life not death.
The goal of any conflict is to solve the conflict, not to exterminate the other. The goal of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is to achieve the full Palestinian right, not exterminating the Israelis. If you were looking for the Palestinians’ interests, then the solution is in peaceful negotiation, not in entering war which both sides die in, the Samson style (on me and my enemies)? But, if you were seeking suicide, please, commit suicide quietly without killing millions of innocents with you.

When I was choosing the title of the article, I wanted to title it “Peace to Egypt, not Israel”, but I preferred it to be “Peace to Egypt Before it is to Israel”... Because, peace would benefit everyone, Egypt, Israel, Palestine, even Iran and Turkey. Peace will benefit the whole world. Our role as Egyptians is to think sanely of the interest of our homeland, the interest of our revolution, the project of democratic transformation, our ambition for economic growth and our fear on lives of our brothers, our children and friends.
The peoples have to choose and each reasonable society have their mind and know their own salvation.
                        Maikel Nabil Sanad
                        El-Marg prison – 2 ع [‘ayn]

Give Peace A Chance - John Lennon

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