I am no cartographer nor map wizard; I’m also neither a politician nor a historian, but I know what I grew up with as far as the map of Egypt is concerned.
It goes without saying that the map of Egypt was ingrained in the brains of Egyptians as seen in textbooks, in maps circulated around the world, in media, and in every published source of information. It looked very clear: an almost-straight vertical line from the Mediterranean heading south intersected a perfectly horizontal line, creating a 90-degree angle. This horizontal line reached the Red Sea at the far east end. No queries existed; these were Egypt’s borders as far as the western and southern borders were concerned.
However, today, maps of Egypt available on web sites exhibit a questionable triangle at the east southern border. A zigzag shape crisscrossing Egypt into Sudan and Sudan into Egypt considers the Halayeb Triangle a "disputed area." Other maps on similar sites give Sudan ownership over the same area.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, these new maps are circulating around the various search engines. Are these new maps bona fide and attested? Have the borders between Egypt and Sudan always been disputed? And what about the map that Egyptians acknowledged and accepted all along?
Here are a few of these maps.
Bear in mind that these sites are the most reknowned and official ones on maps, and people from all around the world take the data in these sites as a given and resort to them for correct information.
The unofficial but newer maps seem intentional in their pursuance of a new borderline between Egypt and Sudan. And once such maps become the dominant ones, the truth will then get fogged into oblivion.
Unless Egyptian authorities pursue this matter further and call on these sites to adhere to the original Egyptian map, the border between Egypt and Sudan will become a disputed area, a thorn in the side of future generations. The onus falls on this generation, and it will be this generation’s shortcomings that caused such a dispute to come about.
Egyptian authorities have asked eBay to remove stolen artifacts from its data base. And eBay complied. The same should occur to the maps of Egypt and Sudan.
Simultaneously if Egypt has proof that the Halayeb Triangle is within its borders, then it must fight tooth and nail to have these maps withdrawn, but If the borderline is a disputed one, then Egypt and Sudan must sit together and settle the issue once and for all.
On another front altogether—the eastern border with Saudi and Israel—there exists two small islands called Tiran and Sanafir, of crucial strategic and political presence since they fall on the narrowest section of the Straits of Tiran, the only passage to Jordan's Port of Aqaba and Israel's Port of Eilaat. Saudi Arabia gave these two islands to Egypt so as to maintain control over the Straits of Tiran, at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba. However, when Sadat negotiated the Peace Treaty with Israel, he opted to turn a blind eye to the rights to these two islands and assume they still belonged to Saudi Arabia. The end result: Tiran and Sanafir have been under the Israeli “control” since 1967.
Tiran and Sanafir will never return to either Egypt or Saudi Arabia. Israel has absolute control over them, and this is not what we want to happen to the Halayeb Triangle. During President Morsi’s era, a discussion came about where Morsi was willing to give away the Halayeb Triangle, without any informed or preceeding negotiations with regard to the legality, ownership, and border lines of these areas. Such haphazard decisions must be stopped.
Egyptian authorities, peruse these maps. Decide if the border maps of Egypt used all over the world today depict the legal borders of Egypt. If not, then end this masquerade and ask all sites to change the maps they utilize. It may seem as though it is not a pressing issue amidst today's demands on politicians, but it is changing Egypt's borders: a dangerous outcome.
PS. I must thank my friend, Itidal Sadek, who got me as infuriated as she is on this topic.