Thursday, September 21, 2006

In Memoriam - Ahmed Urabi (1841-1911)

Ahmed Urabi

On a day like this 95 years ago, one of my favorite modern time Arab heroes passed away.
That hero was Ahmed Urabi.

For those who do not know who Urabi is, Ahmed Urabi was a Army officer in the Egyptian army back in mid 1800s.
He was brought up with religious morals and ethics. He joined the army and did quiet well. The problems started when the Turkish Officers (Turks were ruling Egypt at the time) were mistreating Egyptian officers in the army.
The Turks also made a rule that no son of a peasant can go into the army. Urabi protested such rules and was banned from the army for 3 whole years. Within those 3 years he went and studied at Al Azhar (most perstigous Islamic Institute in the world).
A friend of Urabi called Mohammad Obeid was able to pull strings and get Urabi back into the army again.
Urabi and his Egyptian fellow Officers were furious with what was happening in the army and all the political and economical laws that the Turks were behind over the years.
They then planned to standup togethter and go to Khedive Tawfiq (Ruler Of Egypt, who was a Turk) and protest what was happening in the country and ask him to stop the Turks from mistreating Egyptians.
Urabi, 30 Officers, and 4000 Egyptian soldiers went to Abdeen Palace (Khedive Tawfiq's Ruling Palace) and gave in their demands as Egyptians.

...............Urabi's Demonstration at Abdeen Palace

Then happened the famous dialogue that most Egyptians know:

Khedive Tawfiq:"You have no right to ask for all these demands. For I (the khalifa) have inherited this land (Egypt)".
Urabi: "God has created us free! God did not create us to be to be inherited like property! I swear by Allah who there is no God except Him, from now on we (Egyptians) will never be inherited or treated as slaves again!"

The Khedive under pressure approved the demands of Urabi and his fellow officers. As a result, the Prime Minister was removed, a new constitution that protects Egyptians' rights was issued, and Urabi was assigned as Minister of Defense (due to his popularity as an Egyptian Officer).

And as usual there was an emperial nation watching closely over what was happening in Egypt. That country was England.
Knowing the bitterness between Khedive Tawfiq and Urabi (who by then, had all the Egyptians' support and admiration) decided to try and make the best out of it.
England sent messages that if anything happens to the foreigners in Egypt, it will intervene to protect them. Not only that they told Khedive Tawfiq that they are worried Urabi can not protect the foreigners and he should be removed from his post as defense minister... keda! out of the blue!!!
After that, an incident happened in Alexandria where an Albanian guy had a quarrel with an Egyptian and that incident escalated till about 10 people were killed and many wounded.... Strange coincidence, mish keda?!!!!!!
Anyway to cut a long story short, England tried to invade Egypt from the north (near Alexandria) with the help of the Khedive's men.
Urabi beat the hell out of them in "Kafr El Dawaar". The Brits retreated into the sea again and went through the Suez Canal (Eastern Egypt) and off-shore near "Ismailiya" City.
Over there they made some alliances with Bedouins who betrayed Urabi and gave the Brits the knowhow of the terrain. The Brits then took Urabi and his army by surprise at "Al Tal Al Kabeer"and defeated and captured him.

Urabi In His Exile In Srilanka

He was sentenced to exile in "Srilanka". He stayed there 19 years...yes 19 years!!!!
After which, he went back to Egypt as an old man in 1903. He lived in Cairo till he passed away in 1911. Allah Yer7amo...

The first time i heard about Urabi was at school, in one of the History lessons we had. It didn't really register in my mind back then.
As i grew up and once came across that famous dialogue, i felt so proud that out of my counrty came such proud men.
When i read his story again, a thought came on my mind. I thought to myself, "My God! i can not even try to imagine the frustration and pity he felt while on the ship going to his exile to Srilanka away from his people and country. After all these big dreams he had for his country, it all ended because of betrayal".
But after that i realized that history is what leads to present. We (Egyptians) would not have had our country freed without such events in history. Some fail and some succeed, the point is to always keep trying to do what is right!
No matter how difficult things are and no matter who you are against, as long as you are defending what is right, never give in...even if you are defeated or die tying!

Mr.Urabi.... I Salute You!

Mood: PROUD!


Shatla said...

I think he went to khedev Tawfik?
anyways he was a MAN

Fadfadation said...

yes you're right. I fixed the mistake. THanks :)

alBono said...

bas fee nas etahametoh eno al sabab fe do7'ol al britsh ... zai hassan nasrallah ... wade7 en al zaman bey3eed nafso ...
bas fe3lan he was great man ... 2al al 7a2 we odam meen al khedev .... dah kan 7aga gabara zaman ....

Fadfadation said...


Fy kol zaman 7aykoon fyh naas mota7'azleen, 2aw masla7geya, 2aw montafe3eeen min wad3 mo3ayan... 2aw 7akoodeen wel salam.
Ahmed Urabi 2al kelmet 7a2 wee ista7mel nategetha. Wee el masreeen kano ma3ah. L2enena naas 3awzeen ne7es bee el 3eza.

Allah yer7amo

مسلم من أهل مصر said...

what I heard is that he has done some good deeds in Sri lanka ( Ceylon ) in the area of education ... that a postage stamp was issued in sri lanka with his picture in 1983 for the 100 year anniversary of his coming to their country