Egypt's Morsi, Tantawi commemorate 10 Ramadan victory anniversary

MENA and Ahram Online, Monday 30 Jul 2012

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi praises role played by Egyptian Armed Forces in 1973 victory over Israel and army's role during and after last year's Tahrir Square uprising

Morsi and Tantawi
File photo: Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, left, shakes hands with Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi in Cairo (Photo: AP)

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Sunday was received by Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head of Egypt's military council, at Cairo's Galaa Club, where the Egyptian Armed Forces held a banquet to celebrate the anniversary of Egypt's 10 Ramadan victory against Israel in 1973.

Several high-profile figures turned out for the event, including Armed Forces Chief of Staff Sami Anan and other high-ranking military figures.

On the same day, Morsi, speaking on his daily call-in radio show, reminisced about the 6 October victory – which fell on 10 Ramadan in the Islamic calendar – when the Egyptian Army successfully crossed the Suez Canal in the face of fierce resistance from its Israeli counterpart.

"I was a university student at the time; it was a great day for Egyptian youth," the 60-year-old Morsi recalled. "We were keen to liberate our land. The victory breathed life into all of us."

"Ever since, 10 Ramadan has represented unity between the Egyptian people and army, which has remained intact until now," the president added.

The relationship between the Egyptian Armed Forces and the public was substantially boosted during last year's Tahrir Square uprising. During the uprising, army troops were deployed in the streets to protect civilians following clashes between anti-Mubarak protesters and police personnel, which had resulted in hundreds of death and thousands of injuries.

The chant "The people and army are one hand" could be heard at most protests and gatherings in the months that followed. Later, however, many Egyptian revolutionaries turned against the Armed Forces to protest the policies of the then-ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which assumed power upon former president Hosni Mubarak's ouster in February of last year.

The use of deadly force against protesters, the practice of hauling civilians before military courts, and a tendency to ignore outstanding revolutionary demands – including calls for social equality – were the main reasons why much of the public eventually turned against the military.

Until now, protesters have continued to chant against the SCAF, which ceded power to Morsi in late June but which continues to hold considerable authority, thanks largely to a controversial 'constitutional addendum' granting it certain powers at the expense of the presidency.

Morsi, for his part, has attempted to assuage the tension between public and army by voicing praise for the latter's role during the 2011 uprising.

"The Egyptian Army assumed responsibility on 11 February 2011 under difficult circumstances," he stated. "It was a move that was no less important than that it played during the October War."

"The Egyptian army also relinquished power to a civil authority [the presidency] after the people elected their own president on 30 June 2012, which represented the realisation of another dream," Morsi went on.

"The Egyptian people and army are one hand; there is no scope for discussing conflict [between them] or accusing individuals or institutions of betrayal," he added.

Some revolutionaries had accused the SCAF of "turning against" the uprising and sponsoring what has come to be known as the 'counter-revolution,' which many attribute to 'remnants' of the Mubarak regime.

The Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails, last protested against the SCAF over the issue of the constitutional addendum, the revocation of which the group had called for shortly after Morsi's inauguration. 

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