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Egyptian Customs

Heroes Remember

I tried to observe their customs and because I was travelling a lot between Gaza and El Arish and Rafah being transportation, it was wise to learn the customs. You can’t talk to the women. You can’t do this. You can’t do that, and therefore you must adhere to their rules. A couple of times there was instances, we had some guys stopped to talk to the girls and I said, “That’s a no-no,” and they said, “Oh, such and such, and I said, “Yes.” So a couple of weeks went by and there was a bad smell along the road and I stopped the jeep and I took them out, these two that I knew and I said, “Take a look, this is what you caused.” And they had killed her and chopped her up and left her to lay there, cause that is the rule. If you got into an accident with a vehicle, you didn’t stop. You went to the nearest police or whatever because they’d kill you right on the spot and leave you there. General sense, okay, they talk about all the wives they have, but off the street, number one wife controls everything. For instance, if the dowry is brought to the marriage, the dowry is invested, he has to build her a home. The dowry’s invested so if he decides to leave her or divorce her, she gets the home, the dowry and the money the dowry’s made. He can keep the children. But there’s all sort of little rules and things that they go by and that’s their customs. So you have to learn not to become personally involved.

Mr. Gourlay describes the customs of the Egyptian people and the implications thrust upon one another if they are disrespected.

Ronald Gourlay

Mr. Ronald Gourlay was born in Dundee, Scotland on March 21, 1939. Growing up during the Second World War enforced the desire of wanting to be a part of the military. After moving to New Brunswick, Canada, in 1956, Mr. Gourlay first joined the Royal Canadian Army Service Corp. He travelled to Camp Borden to obtain training and after six months took on a trade in transport. Mr. Gourlay’s military service took him to Germany from 1957 to 1959, Egypt from 1960 to 1963, Cyprus from 1963 to 1965 and again in 1971. In 1983, Mr. Gourlay retired from the military. During his military career he travelled to 34 countries in 27 years. Mr. Gourlay speaks to youth about his experiences and has great pride for the service provided by his regiment.

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Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Ronald Gourlay
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Royal Canadian Army Service Corps

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