Life is all about chances

The Egyptian series called The Choice is a patriotic saga that relates the anti-terrorism war that’s been going on in the Sinai Peninsula for the past seven years.

 The main character is real-life war hero Ahmed El Mansi, a colonel in the Egyptian Army Special Forces and the commander of Battalion 103. He’s based in Sinai, the place that many of the Muslim Brotherhood members escaped to- after the military coup of 2013 that removed them from power- to create militias that attack the army, the main reason of their sudden descent.

 A prominent member of these militias is Hisham Ashmawi — an ex-officer in the Special Forces and a colleague of El Mansi. Like El Mansi, he was based in Sinai for ten years before getting an early retirement for medical reasons. With his radical ideology, Ashmawi — along with another ex-military officer Imad Abdul-Hameed — embark on a tough quest that sees them crossing borders and connecting with terrorists such as Abu-Bakr El Baghdadi.

El Mansi is in charge of finding Ashmawi and stopping the daily terrorist attacks on civilians and soldiers alike. The events lead to the epic battle of Al Barth, where El Mansi’s battalion are trapped in their own headquarters by IS militants and defend themselves to the last man. This leads to El-Mansi’s martyrdom along with 16 of his subordinates before the arrival of the backup forces.

The series is a tribute to the soldiers: the unsung and selfless heroes that are often misjudged by the young, post-revolution generation of Egyptians. It highlights the atrocities that’s been happening in Sinai – inadequately known to many Arabs — and explains the mindset of terrorists: how they are made and influenced; the funding and politics behind their groups who mainly use religious texts- wrongly explained by extremists- to serve their own agendas.

News footage, photos of the martyred soldiers, and the final verdict of Ashmawi’s trial gave the series a touch of the documentary. The Choice sets the standard for future modern history series that is informative, meaningful, and humane. The message of the series is clear: Life is all about chances. It’s what we choose- good or evil- that makes the difference.

The author is a certified skills trainer and the author of The World According to Bahja. rashabooks@yahoo.com