Mohamed Ali Eltaher
 

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Eltaher Portrait in full mustache
Eltaher in about 1917

ACHIEVEMENTS

This outstanding individual went far beyond the confines of both his very limited education and his narrow socio-geographic environment. He skipped school; his parents divorced and both remarried, yet never owned land or property. They could not even dream of having a car; and he himself lived without ever owning or enjoying any of the above.

Yet, he eventually published a newspaper that was read in many countries, eight books, and hundreds of articles. The man who lived in a small two-bedroom apartment in the middle-class Shoubrah neighbourhood of Cairo, for which he could sometimes barely manage to pay the three Egyptian pounds monthly rent, kept the company of kings, presidents, leaders, rich and destitute people, and some of the best educated individuals of his day.

Perhaps the best description given of Eltaher is the title of an article written by Nabil Khaled Al-Agha, and published in the “Qatar Review”: “Mohamed Ali Eltaher: A Man Infatuated with Freedom”1 . Eltaher was passionate about his freedom and that of his people. He was a fierce enemy of injustice irrespective of where it came from. He struggled with oppressive governments with the same fierceness he fought against foreign colonialists such as the British, the French, the Italians and the Dutch. Naturally he stood up to Britain, who came in to the region as an ally of the Arabs, but ruled over them as a colonized people, and then gave their ancestral homeland, Palestine, to new European Jewish settlers mainly from Eastern Europe to turn it into a national home exclusively for themselves, though probably too because the British did not want them in their own country.


THE STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM AND INDEPENDENCE

KingMohamedVandChiefofProtocoldecoratingEltaher-RoyalPalaceRabat195
King Mohamed V of Morocco
decorating Eltaher at the royal palace
in Rabat in 1960

He was not a member of any political party, social club or association of any kind, but he became an initiator, facilitator, enabler, catalyst, as well as a mover and shaker..

Eventually he helped others achieve their dreams, while he did not live to achieve his own. His ancestral homeland, Palestine, is the only country in the whole world that is still occupied by a foreign people. This quintessential pan-Arab freedom fighter never carried a gun, but used his mighty pen and his indisputable sterling silver ethics to get what money cannot buy: respect, and a brilliant name in the pantheon of those who lived and died for a principle.

He did not write to become a celebrity. He did not write in order to impress. He did not write in order for him to make a living. He wrote, published and died as an activist because, for him, the pen was his mighty weapon in the struggle for his people’s freedom.

As is almost always the case, the man and his family paid a heavy price for his unselfish dedication: prison, banishment, poverty, and quasi-forced self-imposed exile. But his efforts were always appreciated by all, and his relentless struggle for national liberation must have meant a lot to his enemies, since they too were relentless in pursuing him, though in order to advance their own careers. In the end, and before he died, he was sincerely and publicly hailed by many, and officially recognized at least by some, but loved and respected by all. Stories about him, or references to his work continue to appear in the Arab press until now.


THE WEBSITE AND YOU

The team in charge of developing this not-for-profit website is keen on transferring Eltaher’s heritage from manuscript and paper format to digital media. The path it has taken is to follow the living-document approach, both for production capabilities and because of financial limitations.

All source material available is in Arabic. The task of translating all of it into English and French is beyond the capacity and means of the team at this time to handle. Perhaps only part of it could be translated for starters. The three newspapers Eltaher published are accessible on-line through this website. The books, however, may only be partially accessed through Google Books.

In the final analysis, the contents of this website do not belong to an individual or to a committee. They are part of the heritage and legacy of all those who seek freedom, emancipation and national liberation, whether they are fighting an occupying power, or struggling against injustice and internal tyranny. While it may sound somewhat odd, this story is part of the history of his enemies too. In the final analysis this website and its content belong to us all!

Should the readers wish to download pictures or quote from the contents of the website, or Eltaher’s newspapers, books or articles, they are kindly encouraged to mention the source, i.e. eltaher.org for the benefit of all current and future readers.


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