Kenya cannot ignore lessons from Egypt

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For many Kenyans the events unfolding in Egypt are either in a faraway land, or an event in an ancient (biblical) land, and therefore do not concern them at all. The truth however is that these events are closer home, than ever before in our history.

When the Israeli Prime minister tells his Cabinet that he is "anxiously following" the crisis in Egypt, in relation to the three-decade-old peace agreement with its most important Arab ally and which must be preserved, I definitely want to empathise with him. However, I wish to remind him that his country has been part of the problem in the Egyptian upraising as much as he would want to wish otherwise.

In November 1917, before Britain had conquered Jerusalem and the area to be known as Palestine, Britain issued the Balfour Declaration. The declaration was a letter addressed to Lord Rothschild, based on a request of the Zionist organization in Great Britain. The declaration stated Britain\’s support for the creation of a Jewish national home in Palestine.

Paradoxically, perhaps, a major motivation for the declaration may have been the belief, inspired by anti-Semitism, that international Jewry would come to the aid of the British if they declared themselves in favour of a Jewish homeland, and the fear that the Germans were about to issue such a declaration.

However by the time the UN General Assembly adopted this plan on Nov. 29, 1947 as UN Resolution (GA 181), Britain\’s influence was on the decline and thus the support of both the US and the Soviet Union, and in particular, the personal support of US President Harry S. Truman resulting from domestic politics and intense Zionist lobbying saw the resolution through.

Whereas Jews accepted the UN decision, the Arabs rejected it.  It soon became evident that the scheme could not work. Mutual antagonism would make it impossible for either community to tolerate the other. The UN was unwilling and unable to force implementation of the internationalisation of Jerusalem.

However, to keep any Israeli discussions at the UN \’Safe\’ in the future, the Middle East discussions at the UN were later treated as security discussions and therefore not discussed by the UN General Assembly but by the UN Security council where the US, UK and France have veto powers.

After the overthrow of King Farouk of Egypt by the free officers headed by Naguib and Nasser, Egypt made some moves toward peace with Israel. This did not succeed. Then came the 1967 6-Day war, and Israel emerged triumphant. The perceived balance of power in the Middle East had been changed and a new reality created. An attempt by Egypt and Syria to change the new order in October 1973, did not work.

In 1978, Egypt led by Anwar Sadat, and Israel, now led by Menahem Begin, signed the Camp David framework agreements, leading to a Peace treaty in 1979. Israel withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula in 1982 thanks to shuttle diplomacy by US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. This made Egypt the greatest ally that the Israeli PM is referring to today.

What is not told to the ordinary reader is that the Camp David agreement in exchange of Egypt\’s recognition of Israel and support for peace which would include blockage of Fatah and later Hamas, brought with it huge American goodies to the Egyptian leadership.
Among such benefits were financial and military support, support on the Nile treaty against the riparian states as well as America\’s blind eye to oppression and suppression of any conscious or dissenting voices by the Cairo administration.

In other words, America did not care what happened to the ordinary Egyptian provided its agenda in protecting its geopolitical vital interest in the Middle East was secured through their pet project called the state of Israel.

To be honest, the US and its European allies, need Israel more than Israel needs them today.

You may want to recall that the Hamas, born in 1987 is an offshoot of Egypt\’s Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas\’ refusal to recognise the Oslo Accord and the two states solution to the Middle East problem, meant that the Cairo administration would not want to give any voice to Muslim Brotherhood and other nationalistic voices.

What Mubarak and his allies – including the US and Israel – did not take into account was that the memory of the people of Egypt is still clear about the many deals of yesteryears that were never honoured and indeed that not only left the ordinary Egyptians more suppressed but also betrayed the cause of the Arab nation as a whole.

They never forgot the promised made to the Arabs by the British in 1949 for a legislative body, the cessation of Jewish immigration and a check on Jewish economic expansion as recorded in Arthur Koestler\’s "Promise and Fulfilment (1949), and which were never honoured.

Indeed the rebellion that followed the breaking of each of these promises, were ruthlessly suppressed by the British.  They never forgot that when President Gamal Nasser closed the straits of Tiran and Suez Canal to Israeli shipping, it was a conspiracy between the Israelis, the British and the French that forced it open and again for their selfish interest.
 
As a result of blinded ambitions and self-interest in the Middle East, the United States and its allies including President Mubarak would not lift a finger when the Israeli army committed open massacres against the people of Gaza at the transition between President George Bush II and President Barack Obama. By doing so, they erased the memories of the "Holocaust" and the moral authority to direct anyone else but themselves.

For this reason, the US and Tel Aviv administrations, the chicken have finally come to roost.

You will have to painfully watch as you lose your Mubarak. Not to your well equipped American-Anglo-French-Jewish military muscle, but to the unarmed power of a dissenting population that has had enough of your meddling. At that point, you will remember that the silence Egyptians over these years of your misdeeds and myopic interest was not anything like an acceptance but a big lie.

Coming back home, we all know one or two reasons as to why the world came running to our rescue after the 2007/8 election crisis.

Against what we think, some could have been motivated to intervene because they feared losing supplies from our flower or dairy industries among others. However, they will never package their interests that plainly.

As we begin retracing our steps and discern where we want to be, we might as well have just had free lessons from the Camp David agreement and the resulting blind support and worship by Egypt.

As a citizenry, we may want to interrogate whose agenda some of our leadership (sitting and aspiring) are about before we get the rude awakening that has visited the people of Egypt –  that all this years, they had been herded by a self-seeking leadership into serving a foreign master\’s agenda.

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