A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, October 5, 2012

For October 6, Morsi Honors Both Sadat and Shazly

Gen. Shazly fourth from left, next to Sadat
during October 1973 War
Though Muhammad Morsi was not, as the ludicrous ad in my previous post implied, the "Comander of the Great October Victory" in 1973, Egypt's first civilian President will preside over tomorrow's celebration of Egyptian Military Day, on the 39th anniversary of the crossing of the Suez Canal on October 6, 1973. In advance of that, he earlier this week made an intriguing if somewhat contradictory gesture, by posthumously awarding the Order of the Nile to two key figures of that crossing, former President Anwar Sadat and General Saad El Shazly, Chief of Staff at the time, fired in the midst of the war, and later an outspoken foe of Sadat's from exile. Shazly is widely considered the architect of the successful crossing of the Canal and taking of the Israeli Bar-Lev line of defenses.

The Order of the Nile
Shazly, who died at age 88 on  February 10, 2011 (the day before Husni Mubarak resigned), was previously discussed here. Morsi presented the medals to the Shazly family and to Gamal al-Sadat, the President's son, a few days ago. As Zeinobia notes, there may have been some awkwardness in presenting the two awards on the same day, given the later enmity between Sadat and Shazly, but whatever their later history, both men were responsible for the successful military operation, hence the award of Egypt's highest honor. The fact that the awards were made by Egypt's first civilian President and a longtime Muslim Brotherhood member at that, seems to be part of Morsi's effort to reassure the Egyptian establishment.

The photo below is of Gamal al-Sadat receiving his father's award from Morsi.

No comments: