Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Bahr El-Baqar School Bombing Anniversary in Egypt: Echoes in the Time of the Gaza War

Today marks the 54th anniversary of the horrifying Israeli bombing of Bahr El-Baqar school in Egypt’s Sharkia governorate where over 40 people were killed including 30 children and over 40 others were injured in an attack that left its mark in the collective Egyptian mind till now.

On Wednesday 8 April 1970 at 9:20 am, Israeli Air Force F4 Phantom II bombed a single-floor school made of three classrooms and a Land Reclamation Authority workshop with Five bombs and two air-to-ground missiles.

Out of 150 students, 30 were killed right away and over 50 were injured. The attack also killed 11 civilian men who were working in the workshop that was beside the school. 

I wrote about the Bahr El-Baqar massacre on its 50th anniversary but this year the anniversary comes in time of the Gaza war. It hit a cord.

A doctor helping an Egyptian pupil from the injured who suffered from burns
due to the Israeli airstrike at El-Husseina Hospital 
"Bettmann Archives/Getty Images"

It is like the worst rewind for what happened 54 years ago but on a mega-scale. We are seeing children suffering from burns all over their bodies in 4k instead of black and white photos.

This year I saw Al-Ahram archives photos of Bahr El-Baqar school injured children suffering burns in the same position as the Palestinian children 54 years later in Gaza.

Bahr El-Baqar
An injured Egyptian pupil who survived an Israeli airstrike
sleeping  at El-Husseina Hospital 
"Al-Ahram Archives"

They were even put in pairs because El-Husseina Hospital did not have enough beds to meet that catastrophe.

Bahr El-Baqar massacre
Two injured Egyptian pupils who survived an Israeli airstrike
sleeping  at El-Husseina Hospital 
"Al-Ahram Archives"

But unlike the Palestinian children, the children of the poor Egyptian farmers in rural areas enjoyed medical care and were given anaesthesia.

The same claims of the Israeli army in the Gaza war in the past six months when they attacked any civilian building above them hospitals were made to the world 54 years ago.

Bahr El-Baqar School
That what was remained from school 
"I enhanced it using HitPaw.com

In April 1970, The Israeli army and its commanders above them their legendary idol and original war criminal Moshe Dayan that the makeshift school was an Egyptian military outpost and that the pupils were actually human shields.

Even the foreign Western coverage especially the New York Times was the same !! Even the passive voice mysterious headlines of the NY Times in the past months were used !! 

The use of passive voice mysterious headline was used in 1970 too
The use of passive voice in a mysterious headline was used in 1970 too
"said to die in a raid" 

The foreign press in Egypt had several inspection tours in the village half a week after the attack and they saw no visible evidence of any military equipment among the rubble, and except for a few army trucks, which arrived at the village for supplies, none to be seen on an inspection tour of the village area” according to the Times dispatch to the NY Times on the attack published on 13 April 1970.

“The half week that elapsed since the bombing might have given time to remove any mobile military equipment, but there was no evidence that there had been any.” The report added.

Here is also the original AP video dispatched from the school in colour and published on 14 April 1970.

Here is the official newsreel released by Egypt's State Information Service during then. 

Click on the Thumbnail 

I added English subtitles to the video which you can watch on YouTube because it is restricted as +18  by YouTube and I can't embed it here for the current. It is less graphic though.

The Bahr El-Baqar Massacre happened during the reign of none other than the Israeli idol of Western liberals Golda Meir.

This is why Egyptians hate Golda Meir and this is why it was so provoking to them to hear someone like Bernie Sanders speaking about how he missed “Israel’s Golda Meir”.

Click on Photo 
"Al-Ahram Archives"

Golda Meir has a legacy stained with the blood of innocent people, including Egyptians, paving the way for Benjamin Netanyahu and his radical, bloodthirsty associates.

It's undeniable that after six months of war in Gaza, no Israeli prime minister since 1948 has had as much blood of innocent people on his hands as Benjamin Netanyahu.

Six months of war in Gaza resulted in more than 33,000 people killed including more than 14,000 children alone.

This death toll does not include those who are buried under the rubble as the Israeli authorities reject the entry of the equipment used in lifting the rubble.

According to the latest numbers from Gaza from UNICEF, 8 out of 10 schools in Gaza are destroyed. 67% of them have been hit directly like Bahr El-Baqar school.

There are exactly 443 schools that have been destroyed in those six months, aside from the schools that turned into Internal Displacement Camps.

620,000 Palestinian students still need to get a school.

By the way, on the first anniversary of the Bar El-Baqar bombing in April 1971, Egypt inaugurated a new Bahr El-Baqar school.

Bahr El-Baqar returned recently to the news as Bahr El-Bakar, the village that hosts a very promising multi-billion water treatment project funded by Kuwait.

Yet despite the attempts of some to erase the old memory, it is still known about old generations and new generations that name Bahr El-Baqar refers to one single: The massacre of the Nile Delta poor pupils.

Bahr El-Baqar residents who were poor farmers were working on the reclamation project in El-Salheya city which Gamal Abdel Nasser launched as another mega-national project before the Six Days War.

Since then, Every Egyptian President has expanded that project to include more land mass. Now we have old El-Salheya and New El-Salheya, in which the Bahr El-Baqar water treatment project is expected to play an important role in irrigation.

Ironically when I checked the history of El-Salheya, I found out that the city was established during the Ayyubid dynasty and named after its last true descendant El-Salih Nagm El-Din Ayyub “Shagar al-Durr’s husband” had its share from battles and events since the medieval times.

El-Salheya as part of Egypt’s Sharkia pays the price of being the Nile Delta’s Eastern borders and gate.

On another note, I urge you to listen to the message from another Palestinian child who survived the siege at Al-Shifa Hospital alone after his family perished in an Israeli attack on the hospital.

Twelve-year-old Omar El-Hossari, with 70% of his body covered in third-degree burns, pleads to be treated abroad, demonstrating remarkable faith despite his dire circumstances.

Maybe if Israel had been held accountable by the world 54 years ago, we would not have the 7 October or Gaza war.

1 comment:

  1. Great news Abba! Hamas want to be martyred! Do you want me to use the suicide belt that my UNWRA school taught us to make and use on Jewish civilians? I'm ready to die. will i still be considered a martyr if I stop the worst evil on the planet? Could we also return the hostages since Hamas wont need them for sex anymore?


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