Hypocrisy and injustice are two of mankind’s worst traits. How common it is to see people, especially in this country, wax idyllic about the virtues of a ruler as long as he is in power. Then once he is out of office – voluntarily or otherwise – all his accomplishments are consigned to oblivion, better even erased from the books of history.
The achievement of Hosni Mubarak as air force commander during the 6th of October 1973 preceded his elevation to, and eventual downfall from, power. It is therefore, an objective matter of public record.
I have read every book that was ever written about Egyptian leaders, departed and alive. And I am therefore aware of the history of the 1973 war and Mubarak’s performance therein.
As commander of the air force, Mubarak led a successful preemptive attack that neutralized the Israeli air defenses and was essential to the remarkable achievement of our army in this war. I am mentioning this out of fairness to a former president, who I only knew personally when he served as vice president under Anwar al-Sadat.
When someone falls from grace, do we rewrite history to deny them the recognition they earned in better times? One answer to this question came from General Beaufre who was chief of staff of the French army, as well as a close friend, for more than ten years.
Speaking in a symposium about the 1973 was held at the Nasser Higher Military Academy, Gen. Beaufre admitted that the Egyptian air force was well-deployed and deprived the Israelis from a major advantage. That, he said, was one of the important lessons from the 1973 war.
Out of fairness, too, I would like to add that Mubarak’s decision to step down, rather than fight to the bitter end as other leaders in this region have done, may have saved this country a lot of pain and bloodshed.
Translated from Al Yom 7