The memory of Saad El-shazly
Reviewed by: Wafaa El-houseiny
Translated by; Nouran Salah Eddin
In the memory of Saad El-shazly…a man who lived dreaming of an end to the ordeal.
By/ Mr. Hassan Khairy
On one cloudy day in winter, a child called Saad El-Shazly woke up – ( the day before The Primary Certificate Examination)- dressed, carried his backpack, and walked out of his home alone in silence… He then started walking to school which is about six kilometers from his village till he reached it.
«The gates are closed…today is Friday." He then returned to his house quickly. On the way home, a peasant from the village met him and asked: “ Saad, from where are you coming in this morning?”, he replied:” I walked out from my home to know the distance and the exact time from my village to my school”, the man asked him:” Why would you do that?”, he replied:” in order to be on time tomorrow for the exam”
The man looked at him while sitting on the back of his donkey, then got down with a smile on his face, and carried him over his arm, saying “ May Allah protect you, Saad! And make you the cause of our pride”.. this is discipline.. and pride.
( The village- years later)
Saad El-Din Mohamed El-Husseiny El-Shazly – known as Saad El-Din El-Shazly – lived his long dignified life, and his great military life in pride, honesty, redemption, and talent- ( Talent is not only for artist, poet, novelist, or journalist) – He is a man who lived dreaming of an end to the ordeal! His life -just like the day – was serious, strict, successful, rebellious, and full of events to a great extent. From his birth in April 1922 till his death on February 10, 2011, he did not change. He did not change his words, did not abandon his dreams, did not review his thoughts, and did not change his beliefs. He acknowledged the right things.. and denied the wrong things- ( he is a man who does not like hypocrisy) – besides all these, he likes discipline, adores work, and says the truth secretly and publicly.
With this strict discipline, hard work, and extraordinary military talent, El-Shazly has spent his life since his childhood -in the countryside of Egypt, Delta- till he became Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces War ( from May 16, 1971 till September 13, 1973). He was working, thinking, planning, plotting, and enforcing what is called the plan of liberation war ( The High Minarets), which we used to achieve the overwhelming crossing of the invincible line of Bar Lev Line on the great day of October 6, 1973. This is a great honor and dignity.
( October. The battlefield)
On this day ( the sixth of October) and what followed from victory days, Golda Meir, Prime Minister of Israel said:” I am not trying to describe what was these days like for me” … she then continued:” Suffice it to say that I was not able to cry even when I set by my self”!...When Moshe Dayan, Israel’s defense minister, stood before her “then” on the afternoon of the seventh of October, telling her: “ we must make an immediate withdrawal from the Egyptian army that crossed the Channel”, she replied:” Is it to this extent, Dayan?”, He kept silent for a second and then said:” the continuation confrontation of Egyptians carries a heavy price that we will pay from human lives” – This was the essence of the ( High Minarets) plan drawn by el-Shazly- Golda then replied while she is profoundly depressed:” Shut up Dayan… do not make me hear you…do not talk to me about this price! That price is like a knife penetrating my heart.
Saad El-Shazly was able by his extraordinary military talent and his well-planned scientific thought to penetrate Golda Meir’s heart with a knife and kill her ego, arrogance, and stupidity! This is talent..and pride.
( Cairo- 1940)
Since the beginning, features of discipline accompanied by dignity have started to appear in the actions of the child Saad -he was named after Saad Zaghloul. When he was just a child, playing around between gloomy streets and farms of his village ( Shubratna. Basioun City) – 123 km from Cairo- Since the age of 10, he was known among his family members and people of his village for extreme discipline and dazzling intelligence. In the summer of July 1940, Officer Saad el-Shazly graduated with the rank of lieutenant in the infantry. He was the youngest student in his batch and was assigned to the royal guard in 1943 for his efficiency, excellence, and significant military abilities. Five years later, the Nakba of 1948 took place and Arab armies moved in support of the Palestinian people. Although he was serving far from the operation stage, he went to his commander one morning and told him:” sir, I want to travel to the front to take part in the war”, The commander replied:” Have you gone insane?! Does anyone go to the war willingly?”, he replied:” I do, sir”!, The commander then replied:” Please, officer, for your service”!...The next morning, the commander gathered the guard officers telling them:” His Majesty the king tells you that whoever wants to volunteer in the war…he may go…welcome…It is allowed for you to go!"
Hence, El-Shazly -unintentionally participated in forcing the Royal Court- despite its full or partial corruption- to send a group of his officers to Palestine...This is dignity.. and pride.
(War and peace- October)
On October 6, 1973, at “ 02:05 p.m.”, Egyptian and Syrian armies launched an attack on Israeli forces, along the two fronts. Egyptian army then implemented “ The High Minarets” plan drawn by Lieutenant El-Shazly which achieved an unexpected success. By Sunday at 02:00 a.m. on October 7, 1973, the forces had already achieved a crucial success in the Battle of the Canal and crossed the world’s toughest watertight, making the legend of the Bar Lev Line come to an end.
Almost 67 days have passed since the beginning of the fighting, when President Sadat decided to dismiss Saad. This happened after a disagreement “in terms of military planning” in the way of addressing the gap. It was also after his rejection – Al Sadat- of the plan drawn by El-Shazly to put an end to the gap on the 16th of October. On December 13, Marshal Ahmed Ismail called El-Shazly, inviting him to an urgent meeting and told him: “The president decided to appoint you as Egypt’s Ambassador to London”, Saad replied firmly: “I refuse this appointment”, He then replied:” This is a reward.. why would you refuse? He said: “ If it is a punishment.. it would be better for me to be punished in my country and if it is a reward, it is my right to reject it”. El-Shazly’s rejection continued for several weeks until President Sadat convinced him by a trick that El-Shazly recognized as a deception. However, he, eventually, accepted and traveled to work as an Egyptian Ambassador in London on May 13, 1974. El-Shazly then was transferred to Lisbon, Portugal’s capital in 1976.
After that, he rejected the announcement of the Camp David convention and resigned from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Then he went, as a political refugee, to Algeria, rejecting all offers that had been offered to him from many Arab and international cities, to live there for 14 years. El-Shazly then returned to Cairo in March 1993 where he was arrested at the airport and deported to prison because of his book “ October War Memoir” – issued in 1978- in response to President Sadat’s book “ Searching for Self “. In his book, El-Shazly accused Sadat of making wrong decisions despite all the advice of the military surrounding him. Moreover, his continued interventions in the plans during the military operations on the fronts led to the gap. This is the book that led him to be tried in absentia under President Mubarak in 1983 for disclosing military secrets.
He was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment, held in custody, and deprived of his political rights. In prison, he was asked to apply a petition for President “ Mubarak” to pardon him, however, El-Shazly rejected that. After one and a half years’ imprisonment, a comprehensive amnesty was granted and approved, so that he would be out of prison without any petitions! This is the dignity and pride.
Saad El-Shazly… a man who lived dreaming of an end to the ordeal….for the homeland.
He neither forgets his men…nor forgets the day- of the history’s realities- and the homeland.
The events are real…The Script is from the writer’s imagination
Lieutenant Saad El-Shazly
Republishing.. ( with some necessary adjustments) in the memory of the great man, Saad El-Shazly.