Monday, 30 January 2017

Suez, Mr. President

It is really sad that a writer deliberately revives the collective memory of the society and state institutions of an essential axiom. As ignoring factual matters like this is a sign of the grave danger the whole country is facing… and here I am, feeling totally sad, while writing about the city-governorate that represented our national pride and was an example of sacrifice and resistance… it is Suez… the city that once you arrive at it through a straight-forward distinguished road extending from Cairo, you find another awful thing standing before you. We cannot describe what happened to this city but with ingratitude and denial of all that represents high values in our life. It is as if all eras of politics deterioration and mean Infitah have taken control of the nations’ conscience and took it down to the lowest point of degradation.

Suez… the city that was and still is a distinctive mark in the world’s history and the history of our region in specific. We say pre-Suez and post-Suez when we talk about the history of international relations, old colonization, rise of international liberation movements and nations’ will to free themselves from occupation and tyranny that ruled them for long times.

Suez… the setting point of Muslim pilgrims to Mecca and Medina for long times… harbor of maritime trade, overland convoys and centre of many economic activities. Above all this, it is the city of people who defend their country against any invader no matter how strong it is.

If it was not for those honest resisting fighters; those who resisted and fought using arms, words and music in Egypt’s wars since 1956 to 1973, our beloved Egypt would not have been proud of what it have accomplished in defeating the tripartite invasion or reversing the defeat of 1967 and getting ready for the militant and resisting actions before and during the War of Attrition until the 1973 victory was achieved. It was Suez that fought out bravely during all those battles.

After all what we said about Suez – which is nothing compared to what can be said about the model of Suez – is it acceptable that some say it is a city or governorate despised by presidents and consequently by state institutions; such institutions sometimes headed by inefficient employees who cannot differentiate between satisfying their superiors and doing their national duty?

Is it acceptable to keep appointing governors for Suez who do not know the difference between managing a company and heading a strategic governorate like Suez; this patriotic city long-known in the history of resisting invasion and occupation?

Is it acceptable that cumbersome bureaucracy damages the long-in-history national heritage of this city? If you go there now, you will find that the historical buildings have turned into ruins with ripped-off wooden-pane windows, dilapidated walls and tons of rubbish piling before them. The neighborhoods in the heart of Suez have lost their main features under crowding, poor planning and absence of any plans of development that put into consideration preserving the civilization aspects and cultural features of the city. They even refuse to resort to experts of the Suez people; those who hold the highest scientific degrees and enjoy valuable experiences and broad deep culture.

Is it acceptable that a figure like Captain Ghazali gets sick and old and finds no state or governorate institution to take proper care of him while he was and will always be a symbol for the brave resisting popular action?

Suez has never been the poor-in-resources city. It contains petrol, oil refineries, quarries and fisheries. Before and after this, it has the humans that long resisted very difficult natural circumstances throughout history. For those who do not know this, please read what al-Maqdisi wrote in his book titled “The Best Divisions in the Knowledge of the Regions”.

A promising future is supposed to await all Canal governorates; Suez, Ismailia, Port-Said and the rest of the Suez Gulf area extending southward to the last point of borders over the Red Sea. We have to really ask about the present and future of Suez; city and governorate. Will it always be unreasonably and unjustifiably a prey for those inefficient employees? Even if some of those in charge said that all we mentioned and said above is nothing but illusions, reality, clearly, says something else. Reality affirms that negligence, piling of problems, indifference and absence of strategic plans of sustainable development, preserving historical features and maintaining people’s dignity, can result in something bigger than anger.

I called on the president before regarding construction licenses in Tanta and the issue was gladly resolved. Now I call upon him to tackle the matter of Suez; city and governorate, so that hope can prevail in the life of its sons; those who sacrificed blood and souls in epics documented in poems and songs. The president can just ask to listen to the immortal lyrics and haunting melody of the “Suez houses” song… the song says: “Oh, you houses of Suez… houses of my city; Suez… I shall die and you shall survive”.

Translated into English by: Dalia Elnaggar

This article was published in Al Ahram newspaper in January 26, 2017.

To see the original article, go to:

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