My testimony to history about the Wise Man of the Arabs
By the Emirati writer and thinker
Ali Mohammed Al – Shurafa Al – Hammadi
In the course of life, there are certain situations… We stop at some… We ignore some… And we pass through some. However, when it is a responsibility to say the truth, it is then my responsibility to say and record very honestly what I witnessed and experienced with this man.
I write my testimony for history, about a man whom I approached and knew, and witnessed his loyalty, love and affection for Egypt. I am talking about Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Here, I am talking about the bright situations I lived with him, that he deserves to be worthy of the title «Wise Man of the Arabs».
My memory may recall the incidents that took place in 1973, during the Arab foreign ministers’ meeting in Kuwait, Sheikh Zayed asked me: “What was the outcome of the conference?”
I replied: they have decided to reduce the production of oil only 5%, his face became pale, he told me to contact the UAE Minister of Petroleum, Dr. Mana Al Otaiba. I called the minister, and contacted him with Sheikh Zayed. Sheikh Zayed ordered the minister to hold a press conference immediately, declaring that the UAE is cutting oil completely from the United States of America and the western countries that support Israel, and then said his famous saying:
“The Arab oil is not more expensive than the Arab blood.” After the announcement of this resolution, decisions of the Arab countries followed. I recall here that at the OPEC summit in Algeria in 1975 in the opening speech, President Boumediene praised Sheikh Zayed’s heroic stance on oil cutting. All Arab presidents and kings witnessed this situation.
While the situations pass in my memory, I stop with one of the gallant situations of the Wise Man of the Arabs towards Egypt. He was in London when he took a loan from a British bank worth 15 million pounds to cover the value of aircraft spare parts.
I also recall that, once in the early 1980s, President Mubarak asked me to inform Sheikh Zayed that there is a one hundred million dollars in the bank deposited for the Arab Organization for Industrialization. Mubarak asked for this deposit to be transferred to the general budget or the Central Bank of Egypt. I conveyed the request of President Mubarak to Sheikh Zayed who immediately ordered to prepare a correspondence to the central bank to transfer the entire amount to the Egyptian budget. I personally handed the correspondence to Mubarak.
There are many situations like this in the years I spent with Sheikh Zayed. I would like to recall that at the Baghdad conference in 1976-1977, the subject of the Camp David Agreement was discussed. Sheikh Zayed proposed that no action is to be taken against Egypt and President Sadat until three presidents of the Conference visit President Sadat and discuss his reasons regarding the agreement, if it is in favor of Egypt and the Arabs, we are with him, if the opposite, there will be a discussion on how to address the situation. Sheikh Zayed suggested that the presidents who are to visit President Sadat, are:
- King Hussein
- Prince Fahd bin Abdul Aziz
- Sheikh Zayed
Because there were forces within that conference, that does not want Egypt to remain the power bloc of the Arab world, the level of the delegation was decreased from presidents to foreign ministers, including the UAE Foreign Minister Ahmed Khalifa al-Suwaidi and others. They gave them a message to convey to President Sadat. While I was going to the airport with the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs; Arab radio stations were broadcasting the text of the message to thwart the mission. When the ministers of Foreign Affairs arrived at the airport in Cairo, they did not find anyone to welcome them, and the task aborted before it began.
Among the testimonies that must be documented is that Sheikh Zayed always said: “Egypt should not take full responsibility for the Palestinian case, but we call for uniting the Palestinians and support them”. He considered Egypt the only umbrella for the Arab world that leads the Arab nation towards development and progress.
May Allah ‘s mercy be upon the Wise Man of the Arabs, Sheikh Zayed. .