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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2609

How Gamal Abdel Nasser brought me close to a limousine driver

By S.H.Moulana - Riyadh.

During our visit to Egypt we stayed in a five star facility, in Cairo, by the river Nile. We enjoyed the Nile cruise every night because it provided traditional Egyptian food with live music and the famous Egyptian belly dance.

It cost us much less than the hotel dinner and more fun by meeting lots people of diversified nationalities taking this cruise.

Apart from visits to pyramid and the museum we were highly recommended to pay a visit to a place called ‘Kan Kaleeli’ in downtown Cairo, where you could find Egyptian antiquities at bargain prices. It is approximately 20/25 klms from our hotel.

Although we made use of the hotel transport for the trip, we had to find our own way to get back to the hotel. Limousines in Cairo used to demand prohibitive charges even for short distances and their charges go further high when tourists are involved.

When we got into a limousine the first question of the driver was from where we are. I said that we are from Sri Lanka. Just to test his pulse I turned my conversation to politics and to the late Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser, whom every Egyptian loved without any reservation.

I told him about the very close relation our late Sirimavo Bandaranaike and her government had with him and his help in return to our country when the oil companies had an oil embargo on Sri Lanka, as a result of the nationalization of these companies by Sirimavo’s government.

By the time we reached the hotel we became very close friends. I asked him what his charge is. He said you can pay any amount you want and even if you don’t pay it is alright.

I gave him 10 Egyptian pounds. He thanked me and left with a highly respectful salute. On arriving at the lobby – Semiramis InterContinental Hotel- I checked with the concierge whether the payment of 10 Egyptian pounds is sufficient as limousine hire from Kan Kaleeli to the hotel.

He asked me what was the reaction of the driver? I said he was very happy and he was even prepared to go without taking any payment from me.

He then asked me what was the topic of your conversation, with him, on the way to the hotel. I said it is all about Gamal Abdel Nasser. He said no doubt, with a broad smile on his face!

Gamal Abdel Nasser was the second president of Egypt. He led the Egyptian revolution of 1952 to topple King Farouk. Nasser the son of a postman once said ‘I am proud to belong to this small village of Beni Morr. And I am more proud to be a member of a poor family from that village. I am saying these words for history that Nasser was born in a poor family and I promise that he will live and die a poor man’.

What a great leader he was he lived up to his very words. He is the Arab leader who gave life to ‘pan Arabism’ and the only Arab leader accepted by all Arab countries irrespective of their relations and alliances with the socialist or capitalist blocks.

One of Nasser’s quotes often repeated by speakers in Egypt is; ‘he who cannot support himself, cannot take his own decision’, how true his words are!

- Asian Tribune -

Late Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser, whom every Egyptian loved without any reservation.
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