6 October; War, Peace, Bridges and Football

Six October rests in Giza and is the standing place of the concrete commemorational bridge erected by Egypt’s previous dictator. This little city was created in remembrance of the Arab coalition which launched a surprise attack on Yom Kippur across the borders of Israeli-occupied areas, including the Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula, to conquer the land procured by the Israelis during the Six Day War.

The offensive took place under the clock of Anwar Sadat, Nasser’s successor. Three days after the sweeping advances of the Egyptian forces across the Sinai and beyond, Israel managed to rally up its army and blockade further Arab encroachment, bringing the two sides to a stalemate. Within days, Israel launched bombs into the heart of Syria triggering a flaccid response from the Egyptian forces. At this stage in the conflict, if Egypt were to continue its offensive, the potential consequences would be dire as Israeli retaliation was already making its way south towards Cairo. Sixteen days after the war began a UN attempt at brokering a ceasefire disintegrated almost immediately. A few days later, the two sides collaboratively agreed on a truce from the 25th October.

“The first Egyptian flag was planted on the eastern bank of the canal at 2:30pm on 6 October.”

Although success on either side is contestable, 6 October shook up egos and deconstructed imagined realities. Having regained some form of dignity from previous Israeli defeat, Egypt was able to shock the Israeli forces awakening them to the reality that their dominance at the time was only situational and conditional on certain protections remaining in place. Despite Sadat’s rule giving birth to Egypt’s capitalist revolution, the economy had not completely collapsed at the time and the nation still held onto some of its key markets. Egypt’s current economic situation cannot be considered as an acting factor which contributes to its present protection from attack.

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Political gains (or losses) achieved from a lasting ceasefire, included in the Israel-Syria Agreement of Disengagement (1974) which demanded the release of all political prisoners and that Israel relinquish the Syrian land it occupied during the Six Day War. The Israel Egypt Peace Treaty was signed by Sadat and Begin one year after the Camp David Accords (1978), which made Egypt the first Arab state to recognise Israel. The Israel-Egypt Peace treaty primarily focused on recognition, mutual restraint and Egyptian demilitarisation of the Sinai Peninsula.

6 October City is a region which attracts a significant number of students who study in its various educational institutions and for football fans; it is the headquarters of the Confederation for African Football.

Photo: Creative Commons https://www.flickr.com/photos/elhamalawy/4038748016/in/photolist-79TD5u-3hgCGJ-51sByA-5PQAuH-7j9yEz-dTysVG-du1okN-5PUTmj-7jdNXy-5PUWc9-5PUUT9-5PQxNB-9M8N8p-dTsfre-e5wUYj-e5qF2e-fcMAUM-9fzEuc-drCrKR-9fNeSo-9fNf2S-79TBPw-9fCU29-aUVXta-9fzKac-5JnbGa-b1Aw44-fd2V2w-72D274-e64VQH-51sBff-dPUcMK-7zUAnV-e5bGXA-5T2NgK-asAPQb-5QtcBE-51ojop-5QoW7a-6hLeL3-5Qtg4f-5Qt9AC-5QoRsz-azDbDN-6b6ku9-9fSjxf-bmFSiG-fcMB14-fcMAZn-7tJLG3
Photo: Creative Commons, Hossam El Hamalawy

Noora Ismail

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