From the archive of Abdelrahim Ali

The wise king is gone

Abdelrehim Aly

The first time I had the honor of meeting His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, King of Saudi Arabia, was in February 2008, when I received a kind invitation to attend the National Festival for Heritage and Culture, known simply as “Al-Jenadriyah”, a cultural festival held every year in the Kingdom.

The Egyptian delegation was large that year and included many colleagues from the profession of journalism, led by the great journalist Makram Mohamed Ahmed, the head of the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate at the time.

On the day following the opening, we were invited to meet the wise king. My dear friend, Brigadier General Dr. Hassan Al-Khalil, one of the main officials in charge of the festival and an officer in the Saudi National Guard, introduced me to him. I was surprised by King Abdullah holding my hand saying, “Do not leave these (referring to the terrorists), stay behind them and expose them so that those far and near know their truth.” When I smiled, expressing my happiness that the wise king was following me, and I was at that time an advisor to Al-Arabiya channel for the affairs of political Islam movements, His Majesty the King added, “I know you from your voice, even when I turn my back on television.” The meeting passed, and soon I was in a long line of the festival's dignitaries who all stood up to salute the wise king.

Two years later, I was surprised by my home phone ringing on a Friday. My wife answered the call, and I was surprised that the other party on the phone was the Saudi Royal Court. The speaker told me that His Majesty the King was inviting me and whomever I loved to perform Hajj as his guest that year. My wife jumped for joy and started pointing at me with both hands, indicating that she was whom was meant by “whomever you love,” which my interlocutor mentioned as the one who received the call. She found me immediately telling him that my wife would accompany me, and there, I was surprised that the invitation was also addressed to a large number of Arab officials, ministers, writers and thinkers, but Amr Hamzawy and I were the only invitees from Egypt. In the hospitality of the honorable king, it was strange that I also met there Safwat Hegazi, who was among those who were invited as a preacher giving lectures on how to perform the rituals.

This year passed, and I was invited for the third time to give a lecture in 2013 on the Brotherhood after they came to power in Egypt.

That year, King Abdullah’s brother passed away before he met the festival’s guests. He excused himself from the meeting, but he delegated the head of the National Guard, His Highness Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, on his behalf. We were five or six, as I remember. After the meeting, we gathered around the prince. I remember among them Adel Hammouda, Mostafa Bakry, Khaled Abu Bakr, Dr. Mostafa El-Feki and myself. We asked the prince a question about how they in the Kingdom view what was happening in Egypt. At first, the prince was embarrassed to mention something about a system of government elected by the Egyptians, but he added that he always sees his father, King Abdullah, prostrating himself and crying. When he asked him about the reason, the wise king said to him, “I weep for Egypt, my son. If Egypt falls, all Arabs will fall.” God quickly responded to the wise king’s prayer on June 30, 2013, and the dream came true and the terrorist Brotherhood departed forever. The Egyptians, of course, will not forget the position of the wise king, who offered the utmost support for the will of the Egyptians. “The wise king called on the Arabs and Muslims to confront all who try to destabilize the security and stability of Egypt, considering that anyone who tries to interfere in Egypt’s internal affairs from outside it fuels sedition.” The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques announced that the Saudi government and people stand by Egypt in its war on terrorism, delusion and sedition. The word of the wise king was decisive in the development of the attitudes of a large number of countries in the world towards the revolution of the Egyptian people on June 30, and it constituted invaluable political and strategic support, because it greatly strengthened the position of the Egyptian government at the time.

When Qatar stood against the will of the Egyptians, refusing to recognize the new rule, the wise king immediately withdrew the Saudi ambassador from Doha. A number of Gulf countries, led by the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Bahrain, followed suit, which had an impact on the decline of the Qatari plots against Egypt. King Abdullah, in his famous speech in which he announced the Kingdom's position on the Egyptian people's June 30 revolution, affirmed that Saudi Arabia is aware of the dimensions of foreign plans cooked to destabilize the Arab world, stressing that the Egyptian people thwarted all these plans on June 30.

King Abdullah had the idea of an economic conference to support Egypt's economy, and he kept urging all Arab and Gulf countries to stand with Egypt, lining up with the Egyptians in their decisive battle against terrorism. May God reward us and the wise king all the best for what he did of reuniting the Arabs and standing in the face of the great conspiracy against Egypt and the Arab world.