Egyptians to Israel: 30 years of peace is OVERRATED

Egypt's October 1973 War Panorama Museum  (New York Times photo)

Egypt's October 1973 War Panorama Museum (New York Times photo)

One of my biggest regrets during my post-college backpacking jaunt through Cairo was that the October 1973 War Panorama Museum was closed.

Like a kid stretching his neck over the fence at a shut-down amusement park, I stared through the iron grates at a sculpture garden decorated with Russian MiG fighter jets.  I wanted to at least bring home a snowglobe from the gift shop, but the place was undergoing renovations.

This museum is a monumental tribute to Egypt’s “victory” in the 1973 October War (or Yom Kippur War if you’re willing to acknowledge the military value of surprise and meanness to attack on a religious holiday).

According to the Egypt State Information Service, the museum was inspired by President Hosni Mubarak’s 1983 trip to North Korea and is divided into four areas:

The Circular Hall: Highlights the achievements of the Egyptian Armed Forces in the period from 1967 to 1973.

Hall 2: In which the crossing of the Suez Canal is graphically shown.

Hall 3: Showcases the achievements of the various branches of the Army during the October War.

Hall 4: A library with a reading hall attached.

Now, thanks to The New York Times, I can see what one of the museum panoramic views looks like.  Looks like a lot of Egyptian model railroaders were employed by the state in some kind of job stimulus package.

The Times also reports that many younger Egyptians are pissed about the 1979 Camp David Peace Accords. An entire generation grew up without shedding a drop of blood in the Sinai desert and they are pissed.

They saw a couple of war movies and well, it looks like a whole heck of fun!

From the Times:

“Today Egypt is not influential in anything,” said Osama Anwar Okasha, a leading Egyptian television writer. “It is a third-class country in this region. Egypt was the leading country and it gave up this leading role. Now it is like a postman, delivering messages.”

“The public mood is dark all around right now, and the sentiment points to the treaty as the start of Egypt’s decline and diplomatic impotence.”

But the 81-year-old Mubarak, who has been eligible for his AARP membership for those same 30 years, is still alive and he remembers how unfun bleeding in the Sinai can be.

Yet, he’s also the guy who likes to build war museums. Even if his exhibits don’t tell the full story (memo to Mubarak: Israel won — even Wikipedia says so), I still want my October Panorama snowglobe.

LINKS TO MORE MIDEAST SCHLOCK:

* Visit the Hezbollah Children’s Museum!

* Learn the Arab-Israeli conflict’s impact on Syrian lingerie exports!

* Compared to Jessica Simpson, how popular is Yasser Arafat at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum?

* Reminisce about the Saddam Hussein Yard Sale!

* Netflix Kitschy Pick of the Day: Otto Preminger’s “Exodus!

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4 Comments

Filed under Asinine Mideast Analogies, Foreign Affairs, Middle East, Travel Gems

4 responses to “Egyptians to Israel: 30 years of peace is OVERRATED

  1. bruce

    Yeah,was in Cairo last October 2008 with my daughter.Went to see Panorama musuem.
    Not bad.Egypt should have had hired Disney instead Koreans got contract.
    Went on October 6, no other Foreigners there!

  2. James

    Too bad the museum does not point out how the Israelis crossed the Suez canal and reached 101 kilometers from Cairo.

    • bruce

      Or that the US airlifted $1 BILLION in replacement arms to Israel after that state deployed WMD so that American satellites could easily detect on October 8.Blackmail they calls it!.American taxpayer got to foot that bill.

      • cultureschlock

        Bruce, what does $1 BILLION in weapons really mean? The replacement screws for your average military gadget or even the decals for the missiles probably fetch thousands of dollars alone.

        Maybe you can build a museum about which countries deserve complimentary US weapons and which ones don’t.

        But the point here is that Israelis fought and died and won. It’s that last part that the Cairo museum leaves out. And from the perspective of your average historian or museum curator, that detail is kinda important.

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