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THE RESCUE OF EMIR ABDELKRIM FROM FRENCH CAPTIVITY
The story of how Emir (i.e. Prince) Abdelkrim El-Khattabi40was spirited out of French captivity has been told in several Arabic and French41books in different scenarios, each with a variety of details. The “stardom” of who was behind it all has been attributed by or to a number of people. However, none of the “stars”, story-tellers, or authors ever produced the sources of the story save in one book and two Arabic newspaper articles. The book is “Zalam El Segn” published by Mohamed Ali Eltaher in Cairo in 1951, and the newspapers are “Al-Hayat”, published in London on March 5, 1995, and “Asharq Al-Awsat”, also published in London on 11 and 12 July 1993. “Al-Hayat” had also published the story of Abdelkrim written by Eltaher himself in its June 7, 1962 issue when the paper was still published in Beirut.
The story is reproduced with documentary evidence hereafter essentially as told by Eltaher in his books “Khamsouna Aaman fil Qadaya Al-Arabeyya” pages 804 to 808 and “Zalam El-Segn” pages 871 to 874; and as told in the above-mentioned newspaper articles, as well as in the autobiography of Karim Thabet Pasha, press Counsellor to King Farouk of Egypt, who knew Eltaher quite well42.
"Abdelkrim was born in the Rif regions of northern Morocco along the Mediterranean in 1881. His family hails from the Ouriaghl Berber tribes. During his early youth he fought Spanish colonial occupation of northern Morocco, while the Moroccan nationalist movement was fighting for the independence of the rest of the country from French colonialism."
The circumstances of his capture have affected the course of Morocco’s modern history, especially after he had declared the northern part of Morocco a republic. At that time the other parts of the country were under French occupation, even though these parts were under the nominal rule of the Alaoui dynasty to which the current King Mohamed VI belongs.
On May 23, 1947 Eltaher received a telegram from Abdo Hussein Eladhal, a well-known public figure from the town of Sheikh Osman near Aden, now in Yemen. In his telegram Eladhal said: “Amir Mohamed Abdulkarim Alkhattabi left Aden on 23/5/47 S/S Katoomba. Signed: Eladhal”.
That telegram is reproduced hereunder as received by Eltaher.
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