Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A small museum full of history

Egyptian Gazette

N.B. The story on this page will expire shortly.

Although he died at only 34, he left his mark on Egyptian history. “If I were not an Egyptian, I would have loved to be an Egyptian,” was one of the most famous things said by Mostafa Kamel, a prominent Egyptian in the 19th century and the early years of the 20th century.

One hundred years after his death and he's been forgotten. Even worse, trying to find his museum is very difficult, although it's only a few hundred yards from the Citadel. Mostafa Kamel was born in Cairo on August 14 1874.

His father was an army officer. Mostafa trained as a lawyer at the French Law School in Cairo and the Law Faculty at the University of Toulouse in France.In his struggle for Egyptian independence, he appealed to the Egyptian people to demand the withdrawal of the British army from occupied Egypt. He also called on Khedive Abbas to grant constitutional government to his subjects. He was strongly backed by one of Egypt's nobles, Mohamed Farid, who spent his every last penny on the Egyptian independence cause, even after Mostafa's death.

The Museum of Mostafa Kamel at the Cairo Citadel near the Salah Salem street does not have many exhibits, but they have a lot of history to tell. The museum in old Cairo is about 30 minutes' drive from downtown. The first room has a number of photos of the withdrawal of the British troops and a letter written by Mostafa Kamel.

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