Tuesday,25 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1191, ( 3 - 9 April 2014)
Tuesday,25 September, 2018
Issue 1191, ( 3 - 9 April 2014)

Ahram Weekly

‘The end of the beginning’

How often in our daily lives do we recall the thoughts and comments of the great statesman of modern history, Sir Winston Churchill!

Referring to the ‘Battle of Egypt’ in a speech at Mansion House, November 1942, Churchill said: “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

Three quarters of a century later, the battle in Egypt is still raging between the forces of good and evil. This week we may have at long last, reached the end of the beginning. The presidential elections are nearing, followed by parliamentary elections and when the dust is settled, we hopefully will have reached the beginning of the end of our suffering and our sorrow. A great future awaits Egypt and the wait will soon come to an end!

The world has neither sympathy nor even understanding of the scathing agony Egyptians have sustained and continue to sustain. Constant killings, destruction and lawlessness committed by mercenary terrorists and Islamic extremists, bereft of human traits, capable of unimaginable wickedness. They choose to carry out their crimes on behalf of Islam, on Islam’s cherished holiday, our holy Friday.

We have pleaded for help to a world both deaf and blind. Naturally none came. Instead, they released that old black serpent “Satan from prison, to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth”. What we did receive was more consternation and condemnation, for what they neither saw nor heard. Moreover they hurled maddened calls for the human rights of the killers, not the killed.

It is beyond human strength to continue to weep for the fallen brave. Our tears have dried. It is time for a reprieve. Now, we may have reason to feel relief, to smile, even to rejoice.  The nation’s hero, who responded to the nation’s will at the risk of his own life and delivered his people from the iron grip of the monstrous rule of the MB, has finally spoken. 

Knowing full well that the task was far from over, he once again responded to the call of his countrymen, by becoming a candidate for the presidency.

After months of waiting and wondering, while still enduring more torment and torture, the revolution’s champion rendered a whole nation delirious. Tears were wiped, wounds were healed, smiles reappeared, even music was heard and songs were sung.

The question that baffles the world is why, after so many years of army rule we still crave for more army rule. The answer is uncommonly simple.  The question that baffles us is how, until now, they have not figured it out. The significant difference between one army rule and another is the essence of the man, and not the uniform he wears. Unable to dig beyond the surface, all they see is the uniform.

It was not easy for Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah Al- Sisi, Chief of the Armed Forces, Minister of Defense, Deputy Prime Minister to leave the security of his army barracks, his soldiers, his companions and shed that dear army uniform which he has worn for the past 45 years, since he as a 15 year-old cadet in the Air Force Academy. What he did, he did for the love of Egypt.

 This in itself is an act of grace and greatness!  His armour no longer lies in a uniform adorned with rows of shining medals.  His armour is “the stuff he is made of”.

Al-Sisi is a quiet man of “moderate animation”.  No thunderous speeches, no bombastic claims of nationalism and patriotism. His pitch is low, his rhetoric simple, his rendition sincere. His message comes from the heart and reaches the heart; except for those without one.

His words are never expansive, never exaggerated, never dull!  Heavy in meaning, yet light in spirit, he expresses a calm joy and a sound conviction. He speaks in a colloquial, familiar style that is agreeable, sensible and convivial.

The paradox here is that this is a deeply religious man, yet he is not highly consumed with a severe morality that glorifies violence, that murders in cold blood and wallows in the blood of its victims

It would be a gross mistake to underestimate his gentle manner, his boyish smile, his humble demeanour. Al-Sisi possess a shrewd and calculating mind, an orderly sense of pragmatic thought. No he is not another Nasser, despite the popularity and charisma. He is his own man, a man of his time, a man of the 21st century.

A straight shooter, you shall never catch him lying, deceiving, misleading as all politicians are wont to do! This is a man who did not seek greatness, but one who “had greatness thrust upon him”.

Charmingly and touchingly his words lead us on a journey to a special place, lush, green, comfortable, but not too garish. He is cool, calm, yet resolute and practical. No false promises or impossible dreams were uttered only a strong desire for hard work and sacrifice and together we shall reach that special place we long for.

This of course, is only the beginning. There are other presidential candidates, and there will be campaigns and speeches and debates, and we shall watch and we shall be inspired and disillusioned, but it will come to an end.

We look forward to the end, which in reality will only be the beginning!

“It is not strength, but the duration of great sentiments that makes great men.”

                          Friedrich Nietzsche, (1844-1900)

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