1 response

  1. Rupen Savoulian
    June 7, 2016

    Thank you for this excellent and touching article. It captured the political essence of two anti-imperialist icons. While the article was mostly about the passing of the late great Muhammad Ali, I wanted to make a number of observations about Nasser. His role as an anti-imperialist leader was a great influence on my life and upbringing, even though I was not born in Egypt. Articles about Nasser always bring back powerful memories from my childhood.

    My late father, may he rest in peace, remained a staunch supporter of Nasser and pan-Arabism until his last day. Yes, he was Armenian, born in Cairo. He fully understood the role of US imperialism, and its regional proxy, the state of Israel. He kept a portrait of Nasser in our family living room, prominently displayed for all to see. He saw the importance of cross-ethnic cultural solidarity, a joint effort against imperialism as vital in overcoming the usual divide-and-conquer strategy employed by British, and subsequently American, colonialism. His fellow Egyptian-Armenians were hostile to him, not only because he supported Nasser, but also because he supported the right of the Palestinians to an independent state.

    Yes, the June 1967 war saw Egypt defeated militarily. As news of the defeat was relayed around the world, images and news stories of the victorious Israeli army were broadcast in Australia. Our fellow Egyptian Armenians were gleeful, and gloated openly about how they wished that the whole of Egypt and the Arabs would be occupied.

    Australia has always had a close relationship with Israel, given that Australia is a predominantly white colonial-settler state in the Asian region, and Israel is a predominantly white colonial-settler state in the Middle East. Stories about the alleged bravery of Israeli soldiers filled Australian news outlets, massive hyperbole accompanying a colonial aggressive war to conquer Arab lands. No other war has had so much exaggeration attached to it as the June 1967 war. Indeed, Israeli historians have admitted that the official pretext for that war – namely, that Israel was facing an existential threat of annihilation by combined Arab armies – turned out to be fiction, hyperbole used to justify Israel’s own military buildup. Tel Aviv launched a strike to further its project of annexing Palestinian and Arab territories.

    After every war, the hyenas like to howl about their victory, but that does not change the nature of a lion. Nasser stayed in power, after the people demanded that he remain. And the Egyptian-Armenians? I realised something important about them, and their cynical gloating about 1967 only confirmed my suspicions. You see, the Egyptian-Armenians are mentally sick. They have no concept of solidarity, no concept of compassion, no concept of siding with the oppressed against the bullying behaviour of the powerful. They do not have any ideology – actually, that is not strictly correct. They have one ideology – wherever their greed takes them. Wherever opportunity for financial reward opens up – that is where they go. They are prisoners of their own Islamophobic hatred, blinded by their bigotry. They are the cruise missile cowards, sycophantically crawling to any entity with power.

    And my father? He remained true to his beliefs until the day he died. I am a red diaper baby – the child of socialist/communist minded parents. You can bring me all the money in the world as an incentive to abandon what my father taught me – and I will still tell you to go to hell. Nasser taught my father’s generation about the importance of anti-imperialism. My father passed on those lessons to me. I learned them voluntarily, and would not change that for anything in the world. The Egyptian-Armenians, lured by the seemingly seductive allure of imperial might, can be consigned to the sewage.


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