Egypt: Omar Makram, Egypt

Omar Makram: An Egyptian Hero Still a Little Lost in Egypt

By Amargi Hillier

the Louvre in France

(Cairo) Omar Makram, a national leader and the revolutionist against the French conquest led by Napoleon, lived during the Ottoman period at the end of the 18th century. The memory of Omar Makram was recently celebrated at the Louvre in France. Unfortunately no celebrations were carried out in Egypt.

Omar Makram played a prominent role in the revolution against the French conquest yet he is now celebrated in France. The Administration of the Louvre invited Omar Makrams granddaughter to visit these celebrations. In a recent interview she said, "I was happy to see my grandfathers possessions and his historical achievements in the Louvre. At the same time I felt sad that no celebrations took place in Egypt." Mahmoud Makram, a grandson of Omar Makram, continues, "We are not only relatives of Omar Makram but also descendents of the El- Mahdy, Skeikh of Al-Azhar, during the rule of the Ottomans. We like to claim we are descendents of Omar Makram because of El-Mahdys dishonoring role during the French conquest."

The descendants of Omar Makram request for renovation of their grandfathers historical house, as well as setting up a museum to display all his possessions and record his achievements.

A small protection confusion revolves around the grave of Omar Makram. The Ministry of Culture claims that the two graves of Omar Makram are not registered as antiquities, and thus cannot receive its full protection, although the small grave of the family lies in the vicinity of the Azramk Dome, which is an antiquity. The Makram family renovates this grave without permission from the Ministry. Omar Makram's granddaughter says that the Antiquities Authority however has allocated a monthly amount of 1000 LE for renovation and maintenance, but it up to the family to carry out its upkeep. She also states that the family is making efforts to revive the memory of Omar Makram through the publishing of Omar Makram's biography.

Before one thinks this historical figure has lost his prominence in modern Egyptian history, the mosque of Omar Makram (named after him) located at Tahrir Square still keeps his name alive. For this mosque is the famed location for the modern funeral services of any prominent politician, actor, or recognized Egyptian who passes away.

Certainly a hero and important historical figure in Egypt's modern history, but it may be another few years before Omar Makram gets the full attention in Egypt that his life and remaining historical possession deserve.