Fatal Friends, National Trauma, Accountability
Lecture by Khaled Fahmy
Khaled Fahmy’s talk, held December 4th, 2019, in the framework of the research program Europe in the Middle East—The Middle East in Europe (EUME) at the Forum Transregionale Studien, addressed the 1967 Arab-Israeli War from an Egyptian perspective.
Despite a lack of original documents, the talk attempted to tell the story of this brief war by weaving a narrative of the bizarre life-long friendship between President Gamal Abdel-Nasser and the Commander-in-Chief of his army, Field-Marshal Abdel-Hakim ‘Amir. The lecture gave a detailed account of military operations in Sinai during the brief days of combat while also linking these operations to the labyrinth of factional fighting, political intrigue and treasonous plotting in Cairo. The lecture ended by raising questions about how nearly all of the generals responsible for the dismal performance of the army evaded justice, and how, generations later, Egyptians still don’t have a closure around this most catastrophic of defeats.
Khaled Fahmy is Sultan Qaboos bin Sa’id Professor of Modern Arabic Studies at the University of Cambridge. His research interests include the social and cultural history of the modern Middle East, with a specialization on nineteenth-century Egypt. He is the author, most recently, of the award-winning In Quest of Justice: Islamic Law and Forensic Medicine in Modern Egypt.