Great Men Always Respond [Archives:2001/19/Focus]

May 7 2001

by Mohamed Kadri
During the early sixties, I had seen elders writing to the great Arab leader, Gamal Abdul Nasser. To their letters, Nasser had always been responding!
I was almost eleven when I had decided to do alike. Replying to my letter, Nasser wrote to me, in his private office executive’s pen, whose name I don’t remember now. The letter had been typed on a small paper and the lines were not more than five. Nasser’s photograph was there also. Full of joy, I got the letter and the photograph framed and hung it on a wall of the Dara (opened sunny hall) in our house in Aden. I, also, remember inviting my friends and neighbors to visit me just for the sake of seing the ‘fung frame’.
Discovering the disappearance of this frame, later, I came to know that my grand-mother (Peace upon her soul) had broken the frame and torn out both the letter and the photograph. She had to do so, lest groups of the British soldiers, who were very often combing all surrounding places harassed me. My anger and sadness exceeded any happiness I had felt by receiving the letter!
However, the letter with its few lines, had a very deep effect on a child of my age! Nasser’s letter had helped me understand his speeches and objectives better. I understood that I belong to a great nation that, unfortunately was oppressed. It was high time steps were taken to liberate us from the bondager. Iwas comminced of mighty men existing among us, ready to lead and triumph. I knew that one such manPersident Nasser, was holding a torch to enlighten the nation’s dark ways! I loved Nasser who had not ignored me and emerged as a man who would stood against all despotism and shameful existence.
And…Nasser passed away leaving me to despair our Arabs’ actual plight. Today our leaders ignore, not only a child’s letter, but the desparate cries of the hungry masses pains of the sufferings of the desitute. I have come to understand that great people don’t ignore the hmblest.