Nasser's Courage and Nkrumah's Wisdom: Back to the Roots ll.
Nasser's Courage and Nkrumah's Wisdom: Back to the Roots ll.
Prof. Hamdy Abdel Rahman writes.
It is inevitable that Abiy Ahmed, the Ethiopian Prime Minister, and his colleagues do not know the truth behind the Egyptian role in the African Unity Movement, which his country's capital stands witness of. We may make an excuse for him, for he belongs to a generation that has opened its eyes to the repression and violence of an autocratic military regime in its country. However, it is unacceptable for a man who holds a PhD and a Nobel Prize to mislead by attempting to doubt the African identity of Egypt. In the framework of a political blackmail process to obtain support from our non-Arab African brothers and sisters with the Renaissance Dam issue, he is leading a reactionary outdated campaign, neatly covered in black, under the name of Africanism.
He can review the records of his palace or the archives of the African Union headquarters in the capital of his country to know how it received Gamal Abdel Nasser, accompanied by Ahmed Ben Bella, in one plane to Addis Ababa to attend the African Summit in 1963. Nasser was expressing a unique orientation in the African unity movement, which Ali Mazrui called Afrabia to find the strength of the historical and cultural ties between Arabs and Africa. Our embassy in Addis Ababa was called the Arab Embassy, where Nasser met the leaders of the African liberation movement, who were introduced to him by Minister Mohamed Faeq due to his acquantence with them. Among the summit's decisions was the formation of a committee to assist the national liberation movements, with Egypt and Algeria at the head of its members. Did not the blood of the Egyptian martyrs mix with the blood of their brothers from Algeria in defending the land and honor and expelling the colonizer? Perhaps the return of the skull of an Egyptian martyr from France to Algeria reminds us of the close bond that was defended by the first generation of pioneers.
During the rule of President Thabo Mbeki, who promoted the initiative of the new development in Africa, known as NEPAD, l was invited to a workshop to discuss the subject, with the presence of the president himself. On giving my speech, I was asked by one of the attenders, who was unfortunately from the Nile Basin countries, about the identity of Egypt and whether it was an Arab or an African country. In South Africa itself, this issue has of course been resolved, with the current talks about the African renaissance and not considering black the only symbol of identity, as the new South Africa is a Multiethnic state. I remember that one of the African journalists asked President Nasser if Egypt was Arab or African. His answer was very intelligent and that it was both. Egypt, which has Egyptology to tell its history and civilization, is not open to doubt.
In the African unity movement which was pulled back and forth by different orientations, Nasser's orientation was unique. Some followed the steps of James Baldwin, who was born in exile and lived some of his life in Africa. He believed in the inevitability of the return of the black race to Africa and even when he lived in Paris, liked to be called the Negro writer. On the other hand, Ali Mazrui, who was born in Africa and lived in exile, was presenting the concept of cultural determinism which does not depend on colour, as it is a demographic, political, ideological, and geographical connection. In this context comes the unique relationship between him and Nasser, to an extent he insisted on getting married to an Egyptian woman; a significant indication on the truth of the concept of the African unity.
Nkrumah sent his friend Major Salih Said Senari, who was one of the first Ghanaian Muslims to study in Egypt, to find an Egyptian wife.
coincidentally, Major Senari, serving in the Ghanaian Armed Forces, was married to an Egyptian Muslim woman named Souad El Roby, in 1953.
Kwame Nkrumah visited Senari at his house in a suburb of Accra. He knocked the door several times until Souad, Major Senari's wife, opened the door. As Nkrumah proceeded to shake hands with her, she confusedly put the end of the vail covering her head on her hand and greeted Nkrumah. However, she did not allow him to enter the living room without her husband's presence.
It seems that Souad's attitude towards Nkrumah was what impressed and increased his will to get married to an Egyptian. "Brother, if I married a woman like you wife, I shall have the perfect security," Nkrumah said to his friend.
Fathia Halim Rizk, the daughter of Al-Zaytoun district in Cairo, was chosen from among five women despite her mother's refusal. For she did not want to lose her daughter in a distant country.
Major Senari pointed out that President Gamal Abdel Nasser persuaded the mother of Fathia and paid the dowry on behalf of Nkrumah. accordingly, Fathiya traveled to Ghana with Major Sinari and his wife Souad.
Nkrumah's wisdom was reflected in this marriage, which was encouraged by Nasser in achieving African unity through marriage, by connecting the North African region with the rest of the continent. There was anger and dissatisfaction among the ranks of women in Nkrumah's circle. Even his mother Elizabeth was troubled by the idea of marrying a white woman, but Nkrumah explained to them that inspite of her light colour, her identity and belonging are African.
As Fathiya was properly introduced to, and acquainted with the culture of Ghanaian society, she won the admiration of market women who wrote on their Merchandise : "Fathiya deserves Nkrumah."
Perhaps Nkrumah was thinking of avoiding tribalism, for if he married a woman from a certain tribe, jealousy and sensitivity of other tribes could be triggered.
Thus, Nasser's courage and Nkrumah's wisdom contributed to achieving the concept of Afrabia to become a reality, as an Egyptian woman became the first lady of Ghana after independence. for those who do not remember, this is just one page of Egypt's modern African history.