England Abandons Egypt
David Close joined the British navy during World War II. As an officer, he was forced to wear English shorts aboard the destroyer in the Nile, which were designed during Victoria’s regime. We had a custom: Gathering on the front porch in his mansion on New Year’s Day to drink!
One time we dwelt on his Royal Navy career. Of course, I never went to Cairo, not then. Later I spent months in Egypt, doing documentaries; my wife along. I suspected she had a lover she met through a certain deaf guy who had a business in the Khan el-Khalil. Never mind, I was too busy filming; that was the day before electronic taping.
The other day the English embassy announced it was closing for security reasons; no more presence which began in 1882. London had no need to protect the countries in the Indian subcontinent – Pakistan and, of course, India. In essence, they are abandoning the Middle East. Of course, Israel makes a difference.
The English absence makes a big difference: Lawrence of Arabia wouldn’t exist except for the British embassy. Cairo made the whole-counter moves and reverses with the Middle Eastern peoples: most of them are Arabs…dash in Kurds, Afghans and sub-tribes.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt was all against the colonial mentality, possessed by the English and French. He would applaud. Growing up the way I did was in the movies. “Gunga Din,” I must mention; taking by a brother who spent 10 years in Dacca. I looked him up in the school catalogues when I visited Bangladesh to be with my French children. They were in charge of my travels since Moscow.
The main-point of this essay is the shuttering of the English embassy; I regret it. I was never in the building in Cairo, but the American embassy took to examining car bottoms afraid there was a terrorist bomb…underneath.
The English day has passed in Cairo.
Ya hosarra! What a pity!