Mr. Hussein A. Bakri, A Tribute
By Jimmy Dunn
We have, at times, covered sad situations on Tour Egypt monthly, which show the conditions that people sometimes live under in Egypt. But this is not one of them.
Some fifty years ago, when airplanes always had propellers rather than jet engines, Hussein A. Bakri went to work for Egypt Air in the cargo department
Many people who have traveled to Egypt know the Name Misr Travel. It is one of the largest and certainly one of the oldest travel companies in the Middle East. But few will remember when it was Misr Travel and Cargo. However, Mr. Bakri does. It is where he began an illustrious and proud career in the Egyptian tourism business.
I had, already, met with Mr. Bakri on the terrace of the Hotel Longchamps. But to my surprise, the next day while visiting with the movers and shakers of Misr Travel, I found that some of them were also headed to the Longchamps to visit with the person they referred to as their Godfather. Indeed, it was Mr. Bakri, who first as Deputy manager of Misr Travel for Cairo, and then as General Manager, helped start the careers of many Misr Travel personnel.
Born March 10, 1911, Mr. Bakri started his career with EgyptAir, actually Misr Air and Cargo in 1940, and finally went into retirement only after more than 50 years, on June 18th, 2000. Today, at 90, he remains active, as well as a walking, talking history of Egyptian tourism.
Of course, as a tourist himself, as many people who work for tourism companies are, due to low travel costs, his personal travels are also fascinating. When he found out I was from Texas, I learned how very much he enjoyed the state, and, oh, Las Vegas, where he had been to many conventions. He has crossed the Atlantic, not once, but eight times aboard the Queen Elizabeth Line, and has visited nearly every major country on the planet, including some that are no longer on the planet.
But most interesting of all, is his personal knowledge of 20th century Egypt. One must remember that his life spans the time of colonial Egypt under the British, of kings he has met, of first two world wars, then revolutions, independence, political struggles and then regional conflicts, and through it all, he remains spry, mentally sharp, and a great source of oral history.
Today, mention his name to the big wigs of Egyptian travel and eyes will soften, because Mr. Bakri has not only seen all the 20th century had to offer, but he did it with style, grace, the friendliness that such Egyptians are known for.
We salute you, Mr. Bakri, as a living legend.
Last Updated: June 29th, 2011