Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Three Facts the Suez Canal Crisis Proved about Egypt: Op-ed

Mon 29 Mar 2021 | 08:25 PM

“The Suez Canal is unblocked;” announced the Egyptian Suez Canal Authority on March 29th, bringing a sense of relief and excitement to the impatiently waiting world.

For long six days, since Tuesday, March 23rd, the Suez Canal, eastern Egypt, got blocked by a giant container ship that deviated out of its route and got aground at both banks of the canal. The accident caused a maritime traffic jam that kept more than 300 cargo ships unable to pass between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.


The blockage of the Suez Canal, which is the fastest and safest shipping route between Asia and Europe, is disastrous to the whole world. As one example, on the third day of the Suez Canal blockade, the oil prices, worldwide rose by 4%. The prices fell down immediately after the blockage was removed, on the sixth day. Petroleum and crude oil transports represent about 16% of total goods transported via the Suez Canal, which handles 12% of total world trade volume. About 30% of world trade maritime traffic goes through the Suez Canal.


Experts expected that the removal of the blockage, which proved to be a very complicated and sensitive process, would take weeks or months to complete. However, the Egyptian engineers and maritime navigators were able to get it accomplished within only six days, proving once again that the Egyptians can do the impossible. It is no less an achievement than the nationalization of the Suez Canal by former president Gamal Abdel Nasser, in 1956, or the construction of the Suez Canal by thousands of Egyptian workers in 1869.


What made the Egyptians’ success in removing the blockage in the Suez Canal particularly inspiring is that it came at a time when Egypt had to suffer from a series of serious accidents that caused loss in lives, triggered sentiments of disappointment and pessimism among the Egyptian people, and left a heavy burden on the shoulders of the Egyptian state to handle. Two days after the stranded ship blocked the Suez Canal, on Friday, March 26th, two trains collided outside a small village in Sohag governorate causing severe damages that left 19 people dead and 185 injured. The next day, March 26th, a ten-storey building, inhabited by more than 100 people, in Gesr Suez neighborhood, eastern Cairo, collapsed, leading to the death and injury of tens of citizens, under the wreckage.


Nevertheless, the tragedies that Egypt has gone through during the past week came to prove three important facts about modern-day Egypt. First, it proved that Egypt is still one of the most important countries in the world and that its security and stability is a guarantee of the security and stability of the entire world. This simply refutes the claims driven by some biased journalists and researchers, in western media and think tanks, that Egypt is not an important partner to Europe or the United States, anymore. Second, the miraculous effort that the Egyptian navigators and maritime experts exerted to get the Suez Canal crisis solved in less than one week is a proof that the Egyptians still can do the impossible, if they want to. Third, and perhaps the most important point, is that the series of crises that took place in the last week, simply showed how the Egyptian people and the state are acting as one hand, despite all the desperate attempts by the Muslim Brotherhood propaganda machine to abuse the crises to flame public anger against the Egyptian state and president.