Mohamed Ali Eltaher
 

Biography

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Page 46

POSITIONS AND INITIATIVES TAKEN BY ELTAHER

Sometime in the 1960s Eltaher was asked to write a brief about his life and some of the actions he undertook of which he was particularly proud. Here is a summary of what he wrote:

“My life was characterized by unhappiness, misery, troubles, deprivation, poverty, and homelessness until now i.e. after I had passed the age of sixty five. The struggle I led through the newspapers I published dealt with the issues of Egypt and ‘Bar Eshsham’, (namely all the countries of the eastern Mediterranean, also known as Greater Syria). The newspapers also covered the overall issues of the Arab and Muslim countries in general. Throughout fifty years, before I published ‘Ashoura’ newspaper and thereafter, I wrote and published some one thousand articles in defence of my Arab homelands everywhere they existed; and in particular my ancestral homeland, Palestine. The articles were also published in other newspapers and magazines in other Arab countries as well as in countries of immigration in the Americas. As for the actions I a proud of, here are some of them:

1- In 1921 I succeeded in rescuing the Sudanese leader Mohamed Al-Hassan Kamel from the Khartoum prison where the British and their collaborators had him incarcerated.

2- In 1924 I managed to extricate the famous scholar Sheikh Mohamed Nassif of Jeddah from the remote village of Aqaba in which King Hussein Ben Ali (The then Sharif of Mecca) had exiled him to.

3- In 1942, with the help of the Egyptian nationalist leader Mostafa El-Nahhas Pasha, Prime Minister of Egypt, and with the assistance of his right-hand man Dr. Mohamed Salaheddin Pasha, Minister of Foreign Affairs, I succeeded in rescuing the famous Palestinian resistance commander and its martyr Abdel-Qader Al-Husseini from a prison in the town of Amara in Iraq where British authorities had kept him.

4- I am also proud of my success in involving King Farouk of Egypt and the process I initiated in 1947, which resulted in saving Emir Abdelkrim El-Khattabi, leader of the Moroccan Rif Revolt, and his family from French captivity

5- Saving the Yemeni leader Ahmad Mohamed Noman from the cruel hands of Imam Ahmad, the then King of Yemen.

6- Liberate the Algerian nationalist Al-Fodayyel Al-Wartalani from his detention aboard a ship sailing between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean in 1948 after he managed to escape from Yemen where he was to be executed.

7- In 1950 I succeeded in sparing the Syrian activist Dr. Amin Ruwayha from execution for allegedly attempting to assassinate the Syrian Chief of Staff, Colonel Adib Shishakly, who eventually became President of Syria.

8- Saving Dr. Amin Ruwayha a second time during my visit to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia in 1953 from the wrath of Prince Mishaal Bin Abdel-Aziz.

While living in Egypt, I did my best to help Arab and Muslim expatriates, and support the freedom fighters who used to visit Egypt to publicize the struggle of their respective countries against foreign occupation, and their attempts at liberating their homelands. I used to help them as much as I could whether tangibly, morally or though publicizing their cause. I sought out those who collaborated with the colonial powers wherever they could be, to fight them, expose them, pursue them, attack them verbally, and in writing; and sometimes physically!

I also gave support to the perplexed among the young and the students hailing from Arab and Muslim countries I came into contact with in Egypt. I facilitated their admission into schools, colleges and universities especially before the Arab countries got their independence and prior to the opening of diplomatic and consular missions. Thank God I also succeeded in liberating many political detainees and innocent prisoners, and when I confronted with similar misfortunes and afflictions myself, I found support from everybody I know and even from people I had never met.”

Eltaher played an important role not only with respect to Arab issues, but took initiatives affecting other freedom fighters like him that had a marked effect on the conduct of their own struggle towards independence from foreign colonial occupation. To take such initiatives would naturally presuppose a background built on principles that feed into these initiatives.

His stand towards the British Military Governor in Nablus is one of the early positions Eltaher took which reflect his principles, then his support for the Tunisian nationalist leader Habib Bourguiba and the Tunisian cause. Another case in point was his success in snatching the leader of the Rif revolution in Morocco, Emir Abdelkrim El-Khattabi, from French captivity. These three examples among many shed light on his unique personality, his keen knowledge of people, his hands-on, action-oriented style, and his grand view of the Arab nations’ issues.

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