Sunday, July 29: Today we have our graduation from Al Azhar’s intensive 1-month-long Arabic course. I think I know about as much as I knew the first day I arrived. My entrance test and my final exam had about the same scores. Oh well, at least it’s been the adventure of a lifetime.
On our way home today, we make a stop at the Unknown Soldier Memorial, a pyramid-shaped monument in Nasr City, Cairo. President Anwar Sadat ordered its construction in 1974 in honour of Egyptians who lost their lives in the 1973 October War. It was inaugurated in October 1975. The site was also chosen for the president’s tomb after his assassination in October 1981 (Wikipedia: Unknown Soldier Memorial (Egypt)).
Across from the memorial are the stands where Anwar Sadat was assassinated on 6 October 1981. An annual victory parade was being held in Cairo to celebrate Egypt’s crossing of the Suez Canal. Sadat was protected by four layers of security and eight bodyguards, and the army parade should have been safe due to ammunition-seizure rules. As Egyptian Air Force Mirage jets flew overhead, distracting the crowd, Egyptian army soldiers and troop trucks paraded. One troop truck contained the assassination squad, led by Lieutenant Khalid Islambouli. As the truck passed, the assassins dismounted, and Islambouli approached Sadat. Sadat stood to receive his salute, whereupon, Islambouli threw three grenades at Sadat, only one of which exploded, and additional assassins rose from the truck, firing assault rifles into the stands. After Sadat was hit and fell to the ground, people threw chairs around him to protect him from the hail of bullets.
A fatwā approving the assassination had been obtained from a cleric later convicted in the US for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The assassination was undertaken by members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Though it has yet to proven, it has also been theorized that Sadat’s Vice-President Hosni Mubarak and Defense Minister Abu Ghazala played in role in planning the assassination. (Wikipedia: Assassination of Anwar Sadat)
When I return home after class, I find this email from R.
Back from a family-sort-of-reunion-thing. People from around the country getting together. Best part was I got a chance to spend some cool pool time with my granddaughter. 2 is such a cute age. But I’ve a whole night of grading ahead. What a way to spend a Sat. night. Would much rather be with you. But I bought a bottle of Bushmills to
help get me through. Usually, grades improve as the evening wears on. Not entirely sure why.
Anyway, I’m not sure how much more you’ll be on-line and I guess it’ll be choppy until you actually get back. And then maybe choppy until you get settled– whatever that means. In the meantime, if you can, let me know when you think we might get a chance to get together. From Aug. 1 on I’m flexible, so let me know.
Can’t wait to see you.
In meantime, stay safe.
In the evening, Basim comes by to pick me up and we go back to The Virginian at Muquttum Corniche. It’s so lovely now to spend time with him. I’ve come to enjoy his company, even though it’s been hit or miss much of the time I’ve been here. I realize I will miss him when I leave here.