By Sarah Saad
Major General Dr Nasr Salem, former head of the armed forces reconnaissance service and professor of strategic sciences gave an exclusive interview with The Egyptian Gazette in which he shed light on his reflections on the October War victory. He said he could sit with his grandchildren and speak with all happiness, pride, and reassurance, and tell them about everything related to the glorious victory.
“Right is never lost, as long as someone strives to claim it. I could not have said that If we had not regained our land,” he noted.
Meanwhile, General Salem referred to the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) saying that “the martyr is forgiven from the first drop of his blood that is shed; he is shown his place in Paradise.”
“I am reassured and happy that I can tell my grandchildren about something that we did right. I can tell them that we handed over our land to you free and with our flag raised,” he said proudly.
According to October Hero Salem, the Egyptian land was unjustly raped for a long time. However, our Armed Forces did not leave even a handful of sand to the Israeli enemy despite the tough conditions.
Speaking to the Gazette, General Salem said that after the victory, the Armed Forces moved ahead with a strategy to build the army and the nation. When I speak to our children today, I tell them that we are building our country, it would have been very different if our land was occupied.
General Salem highlighted the ongoing development projects in Egypt, including the new cities, the new administrative capital, the reclamation of millions of acres, along with thousands of kilometres of road networks nationwide, the tunnels under the Suez Canal and the land reclamation projects in Sinai.
“Today, after 50 years, we can say that we have the will and recovered our land and built everything to show off to our grandchildren. I am proud of every day that passed after freeing our land.”
As for the most important lessons learned from the victory of October 1973, Major General Salem said he wants to advise his students, children, and grandchildren to do their best and have strong faith that God will not let them down. “We fought this war without having more weaponry or being more powerful than Israel, but our resolve was stronger than Israel’s. We were confident, therefore I always advise people to put up their best effort, be truthful about it, and have faith in God.”
He stressed that the will of the Armed Forces will never wane. According to General Salem, the worst day that Egypt experienced was June 9-10, 1967. The sun rose on the 9th and did not set until the 10th. However, now, as I have studied political science and strategy, I can say that the greatest day in Egypt’s history is June 9-10, 1967, because it was the day when we rejected defeat and the day of the victory of the Egyptian will, because defeat is the defeat of the will. The political leadership resigned, the army was weak, and the economy was at its worst, but the only thing that remained was the will of the Egyptians who supported their leaders and said “We will fight, we will build our army. So, they rejected defeat.
“If I were asked when October 6, 1973 began, I would answer that it began on June 10, 1967,” he added.
That is why the late president Gamal Abdel Nasser said, “What was taken by force can only be recovered by force”, he continued.
The Israeli minister of defence, Moshe Dayan, used to say that he was waiting to receive a phone call from president Gamal Abdel Nasser to request to sign a peace treaty with Israel. The response was that the Egyptian people rejected defeat. President Gamal Abdel Nasser returned to power, and we said, “We will fight.” Only a few days passed, and we responded to Israel from the frontlines.
“The lessons learned are that we should maintain a strong will and should not accept defeat. After that, everything would be easy and we can accomplish it. However, if we lose our will, defeat is inevitable.”