Tuesday, May 15, 2012

RIP Zakaria Mohy El Din : The Silent Free officer

The one of the two last surviving members of the original Revolution commanding Zakaria Mohi El Din-2council of 1952 and the founder of Egyptian intelligence Zakaria Mohy El Din “1918-2012” has passed away today after very busy and interesting political career and even longer time in silence away from public political life after retirement in 1968.

You can read his biography in Wikipedia , still I can tell you that since meeting Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1940 his role in shaping the political history of Egypt began to take place. Among the positions he occupied in his considerable short yet crowded political life were : Head of military intelligence , minister of interior , head of high dam committee , prime minister of Egypt and the vice president of Gamal Abdel Nasser.

OF course for those who know the history of Zakaria Mohi El Din very well , the first thing comes to their mind wen they hear their name is that who founded the Egyptian intelligence “GIS” in 1954. {He was 36 years old then}

In 1967 after the humiliating defeat of the six days war Nasser announced that he was going to step down leaving presidency to his first vice-president Zakaria Mohi El Din but millions of Egyptians refused that step down and in 1968 Mohi El Din suddenly resigned and decided to quit politics altogether. In the same year he had sent a letter to Gamal Abdel Nasser asking him to adopt democratic policies in the country.

In a Pro-Eastern regime in 1960s , Mohy El Din was known to leaning towards the West and thus according to some it was not surprising that Nasser though of stepping down from rule after the six days war defeat in 1967 and assigning presidency to his first VP Nasser , Zakaria and Sadatknown for his good relations to the West in order to ease the tension between Egypt and the States.

Since 1968 Mohy El Din rarely spoke in public till his death, there was very rare and short interview with BBC from decades ago but other than that , he was the black box no one managed to open for real. He had his ups and downs , he made political mistakes and sins just like the rest of the Free officers that we are paying their prices now but like everyone on this earth he was a human.

The last time Mohy El Din appeared in public was in 2002 in the jubilee anniversary when he was decorated by Mubarak some medallion remarking the anniversary.

My only wish is that this man has left us some memories or anything because his testimony is by far very important from historical perspective. I think my wish is shared by all the journalists in town who want to open that box Mohy El Din kept in his mind. I believe he owed as some answers , some explanation for many things when it comes to Nasser , the defeat , the intelligence , the police state and the relation with the West.

Now the last surviving top member of the Revolution commandeering council is Khaled Mohy El Din , his cousin who chose democracy in 1953. Unlike his silent middle right wing Pro-West cousin , leftist Khaled was outspoken to the level I wonder if he had kept any secret from us.

I feel sad today that many young Egyptians did not know who Zackaria Mohi El Din was today including activists and revolutionaries. Our history is not read in 140 characters or Facebook Post or One side version of the history , our history should be read carefully.

I also feel sad that I did not pay my respect to another Free officer who passed away earlier this year , late Tharwet Okasha who no one can’t deny contributions to the Egyptian cultural life.

I do not know if there is some kind of symbolism but we are on the verge of a new republic and Mohi El Din departs today like that. I just feel sad that he left without speaking up.

He was a true spy chief ,he was the true black box. I can’t stop comparing between him and Omar Suleiman , how he left rule and politics altogether in 1968 when he had a golden opportunity.  

Fact : Zackaria Mohy El Din quitted politics altogether in 1968 when he was only 44 years , only 44 years old and he remained silent for the rest of his life

May Allah bless your soul Zackaria Mohy El Din as well Tharwat Okasha.

Now only 3 presidential candidates paid their condolences and express their sorrow for the death of Mohi El Din and they are : Hamdeen Sabbahi , Amr Moussa and Ahmed Shafik.

It is no surprise that Sabbahi “ A Nasserite” , Shafik “a military man” and Moussa “ former diplomat” to present their condolences in extremely wise , the surprise is from the rest of the presidential candidates !!

I wish I can share an interview for him , all what I have got some old photos from several websites. I used to have a rare photo scan for him but unfortunately I got it on an old hard drive which I forgot to transfer its files because of the revolution in the past 2 years !!!!!


  1. Thank you for this. I'm working on a film for Americans about Abdel Nasser, so I've been thinking a lot about both Mohieddins, Khaled and Zakaraya. I think Zakaraya showed great loyalty and discretion in his silence. Like you, I hope that soon there will be a memoire or personal papers that scholars can explore.

  2. You said he was born in 1918 and retired in 1968, so he should have been 50 years old not 44.
    I guess you meant he remained silent for 44 years though.

  3. Tawfiq Aclimandos is the only serious historian who interviewed him. We await his magnum opus on the zubbat


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