H.E. Ambassador Motaz Zahran’s speech in honor of Egypt’s 50th Armed Forces Day, commemorating the 6th of October, 1973.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Esteemed Members of the Egyptian Armed Forces,
Thank you for convening today to honor a pivotal moment in our history: Egypt’s 50th Armed Forces Day, commemorating the 6th of October, 1973. A moment that not only swells our Egyptian hearts with pride but also reverberates globally, symbolizing a transition from despair to hope. Fifty years ago, our nation did more than defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity; it navigated a path toward a peaceful future.
To the Egyptian Armed Forces, the masterful architects of our victory, our gratitude is immeasurable. Your patriotic zeal, strategic acumen, distinct ingenuity and savoir faire have not only shielded Egypt, the Nation and the People, but also laid the foundation for a future where advancement and development can flourish, enriching the lives of all citizens and safeguarding a path towards prosperity and progress for generations to come.
Today, our reflections and celebrations are somberly tempered by the harrowing crisis in Gaza, where over eleven thousand people have been slaughtered in daily massacres, most of whom are women and children. This disregard for the sanctity of life, for international law, for the most basic values of humanity and human dignity and decency, is a tragedy that compels immediate action.
We must collectively condemn the loss of innocent lives, gone in an indiscriminate and disproportionate rage of retribution. With close to 30,000 injured and over half of the population of Gaza forcibly and coercively displaced, we must not shy away from our living human conscience and our collective responsibility to demand for a prompt halt to the hostilities and instill an immediate ceasefire.
The concept of “self-defense” rings hollow against such damning despotism, death and destruction, and is in itself unwarranted in occupied lands or besieged territories! An immediate ceasefire should not be a negotiable option, but a moral imperative! Unimpeded, unfettered, secure and sustainable humanitarian aid must immediately flow into Gaza through its numerous crossings to alleviate the untold agony, anger and anguish of a whole suffering, grieving and bleeding population!
Indeed, as the cycle of violence and destruction continues to unravel, Egypt stands vigilant and resolute, advocating for peace, facilitating humanitarian aid through the Rafah crossing, and ensuring the safe passage of foreign nationals. These acts of leadership are our bid to prevent the entire Middle East from plunging into a dark abyss that would, God forbid, belittle the horrors of the present stark state of affairs.
Egypt also continues to warn against the perils of stifling the hopes and aspirations of an entire people. We have continually emphasized that when dreams are shattered, aspirations are quashed and voices silenced, they will find no other but tragic, tumultuous, turbulent, turmoiled and troubled avenues of expression. The cries of an oppressed people will eventually reverberate through even the most formidable walls of occupation.
The plight of the Palestinian people, enduring over seven decades of occupation, marked by settlement expansion, home evictions, demolition of edifices (houses, mosques, churches, hospitals and schools), and land confiscation, seizure and leveling, in addition to continuous policies and practices of provocations, inevitably fosters a spirit of furious and fierce resistance, and an unfortunate cycle of hatred, violence, and radicalization. The events we witness today remind us that enduring peace is not merely reflected in the absence of battle, but in fact in the prevalence of justice!
As Egypt’s Ambassador to the United States, I urge the international community to rally with us. Let’s channel the spirit of the 6th of October War, where from the ashes of conflict, we rose to a future of peace, prosperity, progress, but above all, human dignity and decency.
It is within our collective grasp to chart a path towards a robust, just, lasting and comprehensive peace; A course that starts with a ceasefire and culminates in a future where the rights of all are acknowledged and recognized, and where the Palestinians right to self-determination is finally heeded and fully respected.
Let this 50th anniversary be not just a celebration of past victories, but an inspirational catalyst for a new era of reconciliation and peace.
Long live Egypt….