By Ambassador Dhano Obongo
March 26, 2016 (SSNA) — On November 14, 1922, in Cairo, Egypt, Boutros Boutros Ghali was born into an Egyptian Coptic Christian family. He went to glory on February 16, 2016. His grandfather was a former Prime Minister of Egypt from 1908 to 1910 when he was liquidated.
Ghali earned his initial degree in 1946 from the Faculty of Law. Cairo University, and in 1949 a PHD from the Sorbonne, University of Paris, France, one of the world’s most prestigious educational institutions.
In 1980 Dr. Ghali became President of the African Society of Political Studies.
His political Profession advanced well under the aegis of the late Egyptian President, Anwar Mohammed El-Sadat. Dr. Ghali served as Egyptian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs for the 14 years 1977 to 1991.
Under Islamic Sharia law Christians are regarded as second class citizens so that such a senior post is seldom accorded to a non-Muslim in Arab-Muslim nations including Dr. Francis Deng who was State Minister of Foreign Affairs during the presidency of Nemeir.
Exceptional was in the Iraqi regime of Saadam Hussein when a Christian national, Mr. Tariq Azaz, became Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Dr. Ghali qualified as teacher, politician, and diplomat. In January 1992 he became the sixtth Secretary General of the United Nations, the first Afro-Arab to do so serving until December 1996. A second term in that office was vetoed and blocked by the government of the United States of America. Ghali spoke fluently in English, French, and German as well as his native mother tongue, Arabic. In 1978 he joined and played an active role in the Camp David negotiations which were signed in 1978 in the White House.
I extol Dr. Butros Butros Ghali because I admired his personality and was inspired when in Senior Secondary School, he cultivated an interest in me to dream of joining the diplomatic service. Fulfillment came in 2006 when Dr. Lam Akol became the first South Sudanese Minister of Foreign Affairs in the former united Sudan. He implemented the CPA quota of South Sudanese workers in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Khartoum, Sudan.
Dr. Ghali accomplished his mission on earth through loving and serving his Savior Christ Jesus as well as his homeland, Egypt, known also as the mother of the world, or in Arabic Um –aldonyia. He has a very rich legacy in international relations especially in the arena of multilateral diplomacy. The world will remember as well as the African continent.
One of his South Sudanese friends was Uncle Bona Malwal, former Minister of Culture and Information under President Nimeiri. When Ghali became UN Secretary General, Malwal asked him to invite Dr. John to the UN. Ghali joked. “Bona, do you want to destroy the UN? “
Uncle Bona responded that he wanted to invite the leader of his people’s cause and not a rebel Leader. Ghali was a friend of South Sudan and not just Uncle Bona. I thanked uncle Malwal for a job well done.
Last year a group of senior ambassadors were selected for an advanced training seminar and I happened to be among them. The Egyptian Diplomatic Studies Institute provided an opportunity to interact with Dr. Ghali for an hour. Despite his health, he accepted meeting with us. He was very lively and interesting. He implored us to stick together and not be ethnic based as we were the future of South Sudan.
Now he has gone to glory and sits at the right hand of his Savior, Jesus Christ. We will see him again in the second coming. On behalf of South Sudanese society and my own behalf, I take this opportunity to extend condolences to his beloved family and to the Egyptian Embassy in Juba, Republic of South Sudan, for the loss of a great man. We will miss Dr. Ghali. May the almighty rest his soul in peace.
The author can be reached at email address: [email protected].