Friday, 19 February 2016

Mohamad Hassanein Haikal Passed away, Legacy Will Remain Vivid

E. al-Rihani

HaikalHe was an iconic figure of politics, a featured reader and interviewer, a historian of the most important stage in modern Arab history, who left a wide encyclopedia that will undoubtedly guide our path toward a new future.

Tirelessly, he used to read his priceless books of history and politics, and to write down the memoirs of some of those who contributed to certain turning points in his life. He was keen to dive into the depth of events in order to reach the reasons and understand the results. He was  eager to know the event-makers in search for the truth.

The veteran Egyptian journalist and writer, Mohamad Hassanein Haikal, who passed away on Wednesday at the age of ninety-three, had spent more than seventy years in writing down the recent and modern conflicts of the region in 10 rich books he managed to author.

Born in 1923 in Hussein Neighborhood in the capital of Cairo, Haikal started his career as a trainee news editor in local dailies until the World War II broke out, which was a turning point in his life when he was delegated by the Egyptian Gazette to cover the Alamayn battle (two flags), the first on his long list.

Haikal knew main figures who played historic roles in the world history, and was invited to preside over the editorial board in several international newspapers in recognition of his expertise. He interviewed Khrushchev, Tito Castro, Charles de Gaulle and many others, as well as some of the decision-makers in the Arab world like Hafez al-Assad, Yasser Arafat, Ben Bella, Boumedienne, Moammar al-Gaddafi, Iranian Shah and the leader of the Islamic Revolution Imam Rouhollah al-Khomenei, in addition to certain Iranian leaders such as Hashemi Rafsanjani.

HaikalHe also met several personalities in Lebanon, including Kamal Jumblatt, Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah, Rafik Hariri, and Emile Bustani, a businessman who disappeared in mysterious circumstances, in addition to several others.

However, a close relationship was strongly built between him and Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah. Haikal used to visit Beirut several times just to meet his eminence since before the victory of May 2000. His latest visit was in 2013, after which he refused to accuse Hezbollah of terrorism and stressed that the party's involvement in Syria is a justified self-defense strategy.

"Sunnis and Shiites are nonsense words. I am biased to Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah. He is an Arab resistant."
Mohamad Hassanein Haikal
During the last years, Haikal worked as a fierce monitor of the local, regional and international events, expressing beliefs that the Islamic Republic of Iran is the unique challenge against the ambitions of US administration in the Middle East, and that the Syrian and Iraqi crises are a major mistake in the US policy record.

He also used to criticize main politicians in his home country without fearing their reactions. Speaking to British newspaper The Independent in 2007, Haikal said that ex Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, who was toppled in a popular uprising four years later, was disqualified to rule.

"Let us face it, that man was never adjusted to politics," he stated.

Moreover, in December 2015, Heikal called on current President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to hold a political dialogue to tackle the country's crises.

In spite of his demise, Haikal's legacy and influence will remain vivid and his belief in the future of our nation will guide the free people toward change.

HaikalFollowing is a brief history of Haikal's career life:

In 1945, he was appointed as an editor in The Last Hour magazine, then a roving reporter in Akhbar Al-Yawm (news of today). He covered events starting from the Middle East to Balkan, Africa, Pacific Asia, down to Korea.

In 1951, he went back to Egypt and became the editor in chief of The Last Hour magazine and the managing editor of Akhbar Al-Yawm, and became a close associate of the then President Gamal Abdel-Nasser.

Between 1956 and 1973, he occupied the post of the Editor in Chief in the state-owned daily Al-Ahram, and contributed to its development and turned it into one of the most important press outlet, by establishing a research center and interviewing top think tankers and generals of the WW II. During that time, Al-Ahram became the 10th among the most professional newspaper around the world.

In 1971, Haikal was appointed as the Minister of National Orientation.

In 1981, he was put in jail upon falling out with ex-President Anwar Al-Sadat, who signed the first Arab peace treaty with the Zionist entity following the October War.

Source: Al-Manar Website
18-02-2016 - 15:38 Last updated 18-02-2016 - 15:38

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