Tuesday, October 19, 2010

1973 Special : Sinai Silent Heroes

"You took me back to Sinai ,oh my beloved Sinai'
By these words full of passion with a little bit of sadness reflected in the voice of an old man who was once playing a very important role in Sinai during the occupation we started to know one of Sinai's silent heroes. Adel Thabet is the son of Alexandria , a veteran of Yemen war who suffered from 60% physical disability yet refused to take a job in one of our embassies abroad and decided to work in the field by his own way. Thabet  dedicated hours and hours of his life planning and supervising from Port Said the local resistance aka "The Sinai Arab Organization" operations in Sinai during the dark occupation years.
That man is from the Sinai silent heroes whom we are rarely introduced to , many Egyptians listened to his story last 6th of October along with some other stories and wondered how many other silent heroes are there , they also wondered what happened to us in all those years !!
Last 6th of October ON TV made an all day cover special coverage for the October war with interviews and documentaries , it was a very rich day indeed and it ended with a wonderful documentary made by Yousri Fouda about the resistance heroes in Sinai. There was a local successful resistance movement in Sinai that started working right after the Israeli occupation in 1967. It started as personal initiatives from the locals before coordinating with the military intelligence in Cairo , it started as simple operations and ended in the crossing of the Suez canal
If you want how much this resistance and how the locals , our brothers and sisters in Sinai helped us in restoring back our dignity and our land , you must listen to the words of General Fouad Nassar ,the former spy chief and the head of military intelligence :
If there were not for the Children of Sinai , there would be no October war
Fouda focuses in his documentary on Hajj Hassan Khalaf who worked with the military intelligence along with other Sinai locals since 1968 after months of working in separate cells. Hajj Khalaf made several operations for Egypt , most important one of them was blowing up the Israeli military commandership HQ of Sinai in Al Arish in the same year of 1968. The importance of that building comes from the fact that all Sinai was ruled from it , everything was in it. Two simple young locals blew up it with 12 bazooka rockets and they were not caught after it. Already the Egyptian thunderbolt forces claimed it attacked the HQ from the sea in order to divert the Israeli attention and fury from Al Arish city and its people.
You can watch the documentary below , it is in Arabic unfortunately

I wish it were translated in English so the whole world knew about these wonderful stories.

Ironically Hajj Hassan came from Sinai to Cairo in 1968 with a specific mission to apply to the Military intelligence and to work for Egypt in Sinai , in the same year the amazing spy duo or family of Ibrahim and Inshrah came to Cairo to spy for Israel !!
What the old wise man said was amazing , I mean how that he crossed the canal with a camel "camels turned to know how to swim" with bombs and rockets and covered his trace on the beach with bread crumbs so desert rats would come and hide the traces.
The documentary also showed other veterans from these silent heroes who got very small pensions from the state , of course they do not want more as all they want is not to be treated like the enemy in their own country.
This documentary came in a very critical time where our people in Sinai are suffering from bad treatment from the police side and treason charges from some media outlets.
There are couple of minutes wasted technically in the documentary focusing on the achievements of the NDP and governor Mwafi. I know that the governor is popular because he was heading the military intelligence and the locals there prefer the army over the police but we do not need to be reminded what the regime has done there because it is actually below the required. I felt that the security gave Fouda the freedom to film his documentary and in return he would set down with the governor to see how much the regime cares for Sinai.
Ironically after that show we found a local woman was on a food strike because the governor did not like how her house looks and decided to remove it !! The real irony is that her house is besides that village featured in the documentary which will be inaugurated in days by first lady Suzanne Mubarak and according to some sources the lady lives besides the location that was chosen for the first lady's chopper !!
Hajj Hassan blamed the media and also the M.I for the negative image of the locals in Sinai, I do not want to defend the media but the blame is not only on the media but rather the regime before the M.I , my dear Hajj Hassan I wish to come and document your heroic acts , I wish to come but I have to get a security permission in my own country to go and cover issues in Sinai !!
It is a general strategy about Sinai that nobody fully understands unfortunately , that separation between Sinai and the valley and here I am not speaking about secret military operations and the M.I files on the contrary , I respect their secrecy but it is not about them but  about the strategy implemented in Sinai as a whole. Hajj Hassan and his comrades did not do what they had done so after 36 years the governor comes and shows us the new olive oil factor , they did not do so South Sinai turns to be resorts. I am sorry but I can't speak about Sinai now without those project of Sadat and Zeinab El-Dib passing by giving me hints on how Sinai would be a different place if any one of them were implemented. 
Our people in Sinai did a lot whether in 1967 or during the war of attrition or in 1973 and what they had done  is a proof on their true metal , a thank you will not be enough ,I do not know what will be enough ; may be a real strategic development plan for Sinai will be a good start


  1. Inspiring.
    Immediately brought to mind the aspirations of the peoples of Halayeb and the rest of North Sudan to celebrate one day in a similar manner the liberation of Halayeb from its illegal Egyptian occupation.

  2. Africanist,
    Don't you remember when we used to be one nation under the Islamic empire?

  3. @Z: apologies for deviating from the post topic. Could you post Ibrahim Eissa's speech from the solidarity event last night? Alf shokr in advance

  4. Anonymous - do some reading.

    Sudan never used to be part of 'any' caliphate.

    It was never conquered in the post-modern era until Muhammad Ali's cursed expedition in 1820.

    This foreign domination led to the Sudanese Mahdist revolution.

    More than 150 years later, Egypt's ruler decided to occupy a part of Sudan, inhabited and coveted by Sudanese people - again, in Halayeb.

    That's why I said this post was inspirational as it mirrors the aspirations of the peoples of Halayeb and the rest of North Sudan to celebrate one day in a similar manner the liberation of Halayeb from its illegal Egyptian occupation.

  5. By the way what do you mean by Sudan?

    You mean those in the south or the north or the west? What is the common factor that combine all those people that you seem to represent and always come to this blog to ask for their occupied land?

  6. @Anon: If you are new to this blog Im giving you a friendly advise do not feed the Sudanese trolls who post here. They repeat themselves, pretend their words are facts and clearly dislike Egyptians.

  7. I mean what will become the Northern part of Sudan in less than 90 days after the referendum in South Sudan.

    North Sudan comprises the Northern, Western, Central and of course the Eastern part of Sudan which is currently illegally occupied by Egyptian forces - whilst the Egyptian government 'refuses' to submit the dispute to international arbitration in the same way it did with *Israel* over Taba - and in spite of the fact that the Halayeb dispute has been on the agenda of the Security Council sine the 50's.

    Good question on the common factors that combine those people - millennia of peaceful mixing as well as grassroots cultural commonalities...and of course the glorious Mahdist revolution which united those peoples against the foreign invasion and occupation of Muhammad Ali's dynasty.

  8. Africanist

    Wrong answer!
    What units all those people into one country that you call Sudan is the Egyptian army that wanted to secure the Nile supply. Without that army they would have splited into many tribes with different languages and religions in five different countries fighting for ever as we are starting to see now and we will see more in the near future.

    It is strange that at this time and age all you think about is splitting your countries. Into smaller and smaller, weaker and weaker sub-countries that has no means to survive in the future.

    It is also strange you would not learn from Europe how to put the common economical impact in front of every thing else.

  9. @Africanist:"millennia of peaceful mixing as well as grassroots cultural commonalities" :D you actually believe yourself. The North doesnt like the South and the South has mutual feelings. @Anon: good point you are making. I dnt understand how some fools pretend the splitting is a good thing. Its as if they are unaware of Western interests in the Southern resources and the realities of the World these days. Small countries try to be bigger by joining political and economic coalitions and instead of learning to co-exist you are creating potential sources for more fights so that you can kill more of you and never be able to fully develop your country. Congrats on that

  10. Anonymous:

    Can you name 5 cities in Sudan (let alone 5 countries that you predict the country splitting into - could you define the geographical and ethno-linguistic scope of those 5 countries)?

    Do you understand the Sudanese accent?

    How many of Sudan's leaders since 1956 can you name?

    What do you know of Nubia?

    What do you know of the cultural anthropology of Sudan's people pre-1820?

    What do you know of the Mahdiyya?


    Your supposition that it was the Egyptian army that 'created' Sudan is not at all surprising and correlates with the inflated image that is recycled by proponents of Egypt's historical delusions of grandeur.

    Muhammad Ali's armies ventured into modern day Uganda, how come those territories aren't part of South Sudan if it was really Muhammad Ali's armies that established Sudan?

    I recommend reading the following two books in order to begin to have an understanding of Sudan from Sudanese sources, not from exogenous sources that inflate historical delusions of grandeur, are built on the shake foundations of generalisations and trivialise the historical cultural anthropology of the other.

    'Southern Sudan: Too Many Agreements Dishonoured' by Justice Abel Alier Kwai and,

    'And they ask you about the Mahdiyya' by Al-Imam Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi

    It is quite interesting how one never, ever hears or reads British, specialists even, not commentators on a blog saying that India was a British creation...

    When you read up on the history of the peoples' of Sudan's cultural anthropology and history - you'll be able to have a more informed, more 21st Century perspective.

    South Sudan has the means to survive in the future, as does the North.

    And knowing nothing about the Southern Sudanese cause it is not surprising how you trivialise it.
    I was just having a conversation with a Southern Sudanese friend on this very issue yesterday, and she said how insulting it was for her to hear Egyptian commentators on Al-Jazeera crying Israeli wolf over Southern aspirations for independence that have a 'genuine' basis...

    FYI: people in South Sudan also think that the Egyptian media tolerates racism and that Egyptian black-face is insulting to them...

    On the topic of Europe putting economic interests first, I would also recommend that you do some reading on the history of World War II and the post war era...

    Western Europe was on the same page 'politically' before it entered into agreements on establishing common markets for commodities...

    And on securing the Nile's supply, you should be cursing Muhammad Ali and not idolising him - due to his actions and the actions of subsequent leaders of Egypt, particularly AbdelNasser with the 1956 Agreement and Sadat with his bellicose statements - Egypt has 'zero' sympathy amongst the Ugandans, Ethiopians and...the Southern Sudanese.

  11. Africanist

    Let us read a out the future rather the past. Let us think about what we wants for. our children rather than which grandfather to blame. Let think about curing our sick rather than killing more of our youth in wars that will never finish.

    Let us think about how to make Egyptians and all the people living in present day Sudan work together to educate every one feed every one and heal every one. Enough talks about splitting and fighting. It is 2010 already.

    Let us be smarter than our governments not more stupid than them.

    Egyptian in USA

  12. Anonymous:

    Who is 'us'?

    There is a clear 'you' and 'us' - you in Egypt with your QIZ and your massive US economic and military aid and investment and 'us' in Sudan with our US economic sanctions.

    You with your peace in Camp David and 'us' with 'our' long civil war which we paid for with 'our' Sudanese lives.

    You have been doing your own thing and so have we for more than half a Century...

    We are from separate politico-legal entities and our respective governments and people owe 'themselves' care and welfare before owing it to 'the other'.

    The Egyptian government is mandated to think about the welfare of Egyptians and the government of Sudan in Khartoum and Juba is concerned with their constituents.

    Let's live in this world in this reality and not in a parallel one.

  13. Sudanese Optimist10/23/2010 04:14:00 PM

    Egyptian in the USA - assuming that the (illegal Egyptian military occupation) Halayeb dispute is submitted to international arbitration as per the wishes of the peoples of Halayeb and Sudan's political forces - and in the same manner Egypt's dispute with Israel over Taba was taken to international arbitration...

    After that takes place you should sort out the racism in the way you portray us in your media - and how you refuse to acknowledge our historical positions that run contrary to yours and how utterly ignorant you are of us first - then maybe we can think about talking about common goals.

  14. All you two are saying is let us fight first and then work together next

    But what I am saying is time is flying so let us work together first and then let us never fight

    Let us think about the challenges that are facing our kids let us think how we organize our economy to save us from the horrible present and the even more horrible future that we are running into unless we wake up and start planning for how to survive on this planet

  15. Please don't insult our collective intelligence - 'our' referring to the Sudanese people.

    What we're saying is that we want the same level of treatment neighbouring sovereign States have with one another - think South Korea and Japan, post-war Germany and France.

    Our generation 'will not' continue with business as usual:

    Succumbing to the illegal, military occupation of Halayeb by Egypt - and the refusal of the Egyptian government (and civil society) of arbitration as the 'civilized' way to solve the problem,

    Tolerating the racist way the Egyptian media portrays us,

    Accepting the disregard to our history - especially the Mahdiyya and at independence in 1956 is and,

    Stomaching 'moth-worn' statements about a common destiny and shared past when you know 'nothing' about us: people, culture, history, geography, politics.

    These problems need to be sorted out concurrently with any cooperative work in order for any relations to be 'sustainable' - again see the example of South Korea and Japan.

    The last time we had a freely and fairly democratically elected government in Khartoum which was in 1986, relations with Egypt plummeted because this reflected the peoples' will...

    Egypt is clearly failing somewhere when it is vilified in Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan...

    Sweeping problems under the rug is a very 20th Century approach to engagement...

    There's no such thing as 'our' economy - yours is well integrated into the international markets through the QIZ and World Trade Organisation whilst we happily do most of our business with Asia.

    Your comment smacks of alarmism for the future security of 'Egypt's' population in light of its growing population and stagnant source of water...

    Egypt has always looked out for its interests - and the biggest example of that is the 1959 Agreement which gave Egypt so much *at the expense of Sudan and the Sudanese*.

    Never again.

    And sorry, just as the civil war was our bitter harvest to reap - your pressing demographic / food security / water security problems are yours to deal with.

    The Egyptian government's proposals for a delay in South Sudan's referendum were flatly rejected by the US and rightly so.

    The days when Sudan was Egypt's back yard are long, long gone.

    I wish 'your' kids a happy future.

  16. How you are going to survive with all this anger blocking your thinking

  17. Sudanese Optimist10/24/2010 01:42:00 PM

    A couple of points have been raised that you have not addressed - namely:

    How exactly to the separate politico-legal entities that are Sudan and Egypt and that shall soon be North Sudan, South Sudan and Egypt - how do they owe anything to each other?

    Where is the empirical evidence of win-win cooperation ever occurring between the three areas?

    You have also trivialised legitimate concerns reflecting the thinking and wishes of the Sudanese people instead of addressing them.

    Resorting to emotional analyses will get you and your cause - no where...

    And if you think we're angry - you should see the Ethiopians, Kenyans...and the South Sudanese.

  18. Illegal military occupation is wrong.

    You oppose it in the Middle East & condone it in Sudan.

    It is impossible to force or impose cooperation on any people.

    Perceptions of injustice lead to negative-sum outcomes.

    If you can't understand all of the above and interpret substantive problems with irrational emotions, there's no point discussing anything although you might want to look into taking some debating or philosophy classes in order to learn how to accept different views...


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