Egyptian President Anuar Sadat was shaping history when he landed in Israel on November 19, 1977. He ended the feud responsible for four bloody wars and became the first Arab leader to visit the former enemy.
“My heart was pounding as I watched him come down the stairs [do avião]. He looked so serene and confident, “then first lady Jehan wrote in her autobiography titled” A Woman from Egypt. “From Cairo, she followed the scene on television.
Jehan Sadat died on July 9 at the age of 87 in the Egyptian capital. She left a legacy of activism for peace and women’s rights, as well as intense academic production in one of her passions, literature.
With a strong personality and incomparable elegance, Jehan transformed the role of first lady in Egypt. She gave unprecedented visibility to the post, as, despite the different geographical and political context, Raissa Gorbatchova, the wife of the architect of perestroika and responsible for energizing female power in the Kremlin.
In her writings, the widow of Anuar Sadat confessed her admiration for the Indian Indira Gandhi and the Israeli Golda Meir. He recalled the fact that the two, in addition to leading governments, had, in power, gone through moments of dramatic wars with neighboring countries.
Jehan told a story highlighting Golda Meir’s famous trick. When the Israeli first met Sadat in Israel, she asked a cheerful question: “Why are you so late? We waited”.
Sadat was surprised on November 9, 1977, when, in his speech to Parliament, he announced his willingness to go to Jerusalem. Jehan was also surprised. Domestic conversations did not include the peacemaking initiative.
“Peace. Peace with Israel. He shook his head in disbelief. No Arab leader had ever visited Israel. But my husband was no ordinary man,” Jehan wrote, of the announcement of the option. daring. ”And on the trip to Jerusalem, Anuar ignored a woman’s request: he was not wearing a bulletproof vest.
Egypt and Israel, with the intermediation of the United States, signed peace in 1979. On October 6, 1981, a terrorist attack, perpetrated by Egyptian fundamentalists, assassinated Anuar Sadat during a military parade in Cairo.
The Armed Forces came to power in Cairo in 1952, when they overthrew the pro-American monarchy and brought the country closer to the USSR, in the midst of the Cold War. The Kremlin celebrated the alliance with a strategically key country in the Arab world.
Leader of the new era, Gamal Abdel Nasser solidified the repressive military regime and launched the Pan-Arab movement, based on ideas such as challenging Western powers and destroying Israel.
Political and military defeats weaken Nasserism. In 1970, Nasser died and was replaced by Vice President Anuar Sadat, hero of the struggle against British colonialism in the 1940s.
In 1973, Sadat ordered the attack on Israel in the Yom Kippur War. After the conflict, the president favored the historic turn, guided by economic needs and strategic vision: he exchanged “Moscow gold” for American financial aid and placed Egypt in the so-called western camp.
The rapprochement with Israel also came and, in partnership with the Israeli Menachem Begin, Sadat won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978.
“His vision and courage would greatly help the peace process underway today,” said Jehan Sadat in an interview with Folha in 1989. The message, however, is still relevant today.
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