Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Heading east and regaining our role

The necessity to head towards the East imposes itself on everyone interested in the present and future of our country… in many times some think that the enthusiasm of those having leftist and Arab-national political and intellectual orientations to have such heading towards the East indicates a hidden desire to smash the relationship between Egypt and the West… atop of these relationships is Egypt’s relationship with the United States of America… especially that some of the important countries in the East are still raising slogans of communism like China and Vietnam… as both of them have a communist party that has its own intellectually deep-rooted beliefs and known structures… even if dealing with the changes that took place in the world made the policies of those countries look estranged from their ideological belief.

If one kept detailing the historical experiences we had throughout the contemporary and modern eras; meaning since the French Campaign at the end of the eighteenth century until our present time, one would not be able to defend our relationship with the West… actually the list of accusations and convictions is full… at least since the Convention of London of 1840 which brought the modernization project of Muhammed Ali Pasha to an end… to the latest resolution of the Congress to decrease the American aid to Egypt… and the systematic journalistic campaigns attacking Egypt and reports of organizations like Human Rights Watch that makes up all that has to do with besieging Egypt and undermining its political regime.

I do not want to go into details lest some may believe what West politicians, especially those of the American administration, say when they always accuse us of escaping from the reality to recalling history and pains instead of engaging with the present and thinking and planning for the future.

In my opinion, heading East seems a pressing necessity and does not necessitate that it should be done on the expense of other relationships as I said before… actually, keeping our relationships with the Western Bloc – if one can still use the term – entails such pressing necessity in order to achieve balance and reach the maximum limit of interests of what parties of international relationships want.

I still remember what Sheikh Ali Algergawi wrote about his journey to Japan at the end of the first decade of the twentieth century. He recorded its details in his unique book “the Japanese Journey” which late friend professor Dr. Ra’ouf Abbas Hamed wrote another introduction to it in its latest edition. Since that time, the hope of strengthening our relationships with the East captivates many.

To be more specific, the East does not mean only what used to be called the Communist Bloc… and not only Tigers of Eastern Asia too… actually, it broadens to include many countries stretching from the east of the Arab Gulf; meaning Iran, Pakistan, India, China, Russia and reaching to Japan and the far East.

It is not a coincidence that these countries have qualities the West may lack like the mutual cultural, civilization, and doctrinal roots we have in common… it is not our point now to go into details but it is an encouraging call to employ such factors in improving the relationships that look promising and full of progress chances in more than one field.

Here comes the president interest in cementing Egypt’s relationship with the East and his final visit to China and Vietnam is like what some may call “dealing with the disaster that hit the established role of the nation”… disaster here means the negligence and dereliction that hit many of the long-established roots of the Egyptian role in Asia, Africa, and Latin America… such negligence led to the wide spread of the Zionist Israeli role in areas that were once almost close before it because it represents an ugly face of the anti-liberation racist settlement colonization that practices aggression and occupation.

I do not want to go deep into details in the glorious history Egypt made with China and Vietnam in specific… but I may mention a piece of information; that is Egypt was the first Arab country to recognize the “People’s” republic of China and establish strong relationships with her… and the first Arab country to stand strongly in solidarity with the right of the Vietnamese people in liberation and resisting the vicious American aggression…

Throughout such glorious history, one finds himself recalling great names like Gamal Abdel-Nasser, Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Ho Chi Minh, general Giap… such names that evoke a sense of healthy nostalgia in us that makes us feel proud and hopeful of a better life.

China and Vietnam kept what is regarded as established foundations connected to their independence and liberation… in the same time, they coped up with the changes, accumulated experiences, and built up economies governed by the latest mechanisms… and China became the second strongest economy worldwide while Vietnam was able to place itself over the way of rapid progress.

It is very noticeable how they respect the figures that established all this and fought in order to reach such stage… how inspiring and affecting that scene was of president Sisi shaking hands with the leaders there while in the same hall, there were pictures and statues of the founding leaders whose names are held by airports, squares, and big projects… and so, I believe it is time that Cairo airport shall hold the name of Gamal Abdel-Nasser like the case of Ho Chi Minh airport.

Some of those having a bad national conscience tried to omit Nasser’s name from Nasser’s lake by saying lake of the Dam despite that the international atlases still have Nasser’s name over the lake… also, Nasser’s name was omitted from the name of the stadium built in the man’s time and which held his name after he passed away then it was changed to Cairo Stadium… this is really shameful.

Translated into English by: Dalia Elnaggar

This article was published in Al Ahram newspaper on September 13, 2017.

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