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 The following presentation is a series of reflections from the following articles from the BBC online -“Nasser's Mixed Legacy” by Roger Hardy -“1956:

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Presentation on theme: " The following presentation is a series of reflections from the following articles from the BBC online -“Nasser's Mixed Legacy” by Roger Hardy -“1956:"— Presentation transcript:


2  The following presentation is a series of reflections from the following articles from the BBC online -“Nasser's Mixed Legacy” by Roger Hardy -“1956: Egypt Seizes the Suez Canal” – BBC online -“Egyptians Celebrate a New Era in History” by John Simpson -”How Islam got political: Founding fathers” by Mukul Devichand  And from Time Magazine “World: Nasser's Legacy: Hope and Instability”

3  On July 23, 1952, a group of military men known as the Free Officers seized power in Egypt, toppling the British-backed monarchy and setting the country on a new political path  It was the first time Egypt had been ruled by Egyptians for two and a half millennia  The country had been conquered by a succession of foreigners - Persians, Greeks, Romans, Circassians, Arabs, Turks and finally the British

4  So Gamal Abdul Nasser, and the other young army officers, won huge popular acclaim when they ended the much-resented domination of the British, ejected the effete and pleasure-loving King Farouq and turned the country into a republic  Half a century on, Nasser's legacy is the subject of hot debate  Throughout the 1950s and 1960s and until his death in 1970, he dominated Arab politics and the popular imagination of the Arab masses

5  Nasser embodied pan-Arabism - the dream of a united Arab nation stretching from the Atlantic to the Gulf  His message, of social justice at home and anti- colonialism abroad, restored Arab dignity

6  But to his critics, Nasser had led the Arabs down a cul-de-sac  He aligned Egypt with the Soviet Union, and so ended up on the losing side in the Cold War  Relying on Soviet aid, he built up a monolithic state-run economy - which his successors have ever since been struggling to demolish

7  His rule was harshly authoritarian  Opponents, ranging from communists to the Muslim Brotherhood, were jailed and sometimes tortured  Many were driven into exile  Finally, the pan-Arab dream was a costly failure  Arabs proved, in practice, unable to unite under Nasser's leadership  The high hopes of 1952 ended in bitter defeat by Israel in the June war of 1967

8 - Remembering the Nationalization of the Suez Canal Company  On July 26, 1956, Egypt's president, Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser, announced the nationalization of the Suez Canal Company to provide funding for the construction of the Aswan High Dam  The British Government and French stockholders who owned shares in the Suez Canal Company reacted with shock to the news  Nasser said all company assets in Egypt had been frozen and stockholders would be paid the price of their shares according to the day’s closing prices on the Paris Stock Exchange

9  The Suez Canal  a key waterway for world trade and an important source of revenue for Britain  The Suez Canal Company, which managed the waterway, was legally Egyptian but, in 1869 was granted a 99 years' concession  It was not due to revert to the Egyptian Government until November 16, 1968

10  President Nasser, who took control of Egypt following a coup d'état began implementing a nationalization program in the country, and was vehement in his criticism of the West  Nasser said 120,000 Egyptians had died building the canal but Egypt was receiving just a tiny proportion of the company's annual earnings

11  President Nasser's decision to nationalize the Suez Canal company came following Britain and America's withdrawal of financial assistance towards the Aswan Dam  Instead the USSR agreed to provide an unconditional loan towards the project

12  Nasser’s legacy: (From Time Magazine) -Nasser overturned a rotting monarchy 18 years ago and brought visions of prosperity to his own country and hope for new unity to a diffuse and frustrated Arab world - Nasser carried out drastic land reforms, wiping out a parasitic pasha class that had lived off the poverty-stricken peasants for generations - But he was finally forced to admit that his dreams of building a modern industrial nation had gone and that the most he could do for his overpopulated land was to keep it from sliding backward

13  Nasser had himself mostly to blame  He precipitated a succession of feuds and intrigues with virtually every one of Egypt's Arab neighbors  He was humiliatingly trounced in two wars with Israel, and sent 70,000 Egyptian soldiers off on a bloody misadventure in Yemen  To rebuild his army, he allowed himself to become the bondsman of the Soviet Union, and he squandered Egypt's limited resources in pursuit of disastrously misguided goals

14  Yet for all his mistakes and shortcomings, Nasser managed one inestimable accomplishment  To the people of Egypt and the rest of the Arab world, he imparted a sense of personal worth and national pride that they had not known for 400 years

15  Reflections and thoughts from the article: “Egyptians Celebrate a New Era in History” By John Simpson BBC News February 11, 2011 The Author’s Thesis: “In its way the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak is as significant as the collapse of the Soviet bloc in Eastern Europe back in 1989.”

16  So why has Mr. Hosni Mubarak gone after insisting that he would stay until the presidential elections in six or seven months time?  Two main reasons  The Americans - who had been embarrassed, helpless, onlookers - finally summoned up all their power and influence to force the Egyptian military to get rid of Mr. Mubarak  And the military leaders realized that cracks were starting to appear in the army's structure  Many junior officers, ordinary soldiers, sided with the demonstrators while the generals backed the president who was one of their own

17  There is a historical echo to this  In the 1952 revolution against the monarchy, some senior officers supported the king, while younger ones like Colonel Gamal Abdul Nasser backed the coup  Nasser became president after sweeping his boss, General Naguib, aside  Since Nasser, only two presidents have ruled Egypt, Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak

18  For sixty years Egypt has been a military dictatorship backed by a nasty secret police force  No doubt reluctantly, the army leaders have brought Nasser's system to an end  It would never have happened though had it not been for the tremendous fortitude of the tens of thousands of people who took control of Tahrir Square and refused to leave  On Friday 28 January, the police attacked them with bricks, iron bars, and live ammunition  Yet the protesters would not be budged

19  Right from the start the soldiers who were sent in to discourage the demonstrators from taking over the square showed themselves to be clearly sympathetic  That, in the end, proved decisive  Now the Egyptians have the prospect of voting for their own leader in the coming presidential election  In Egypt's 5,000 years as a unitary state, Egyptians have never been able to choose their government before

20 From “How Islam Got Political”  While the practical emergence of a political Islam came with the Iranian Revolution, it was the thoughts of two men long before hand which provided much of the inspiration for Islamists around the world  Syed Abul Ala Maududi was one of these two men  His ideas opposed secularism and were arguably edged with a hint of antipathy towards Western society, almost certainly influenced by his childhood in British colonial India

21  Maududi's critics asked how a journalist who had never completed theological training could be qualified to write about Islam  But his adherents regarded him as a "revivalist", someone who wanted Islam to reclaim its former glory, a century after the British had defeated India's Muslim rulers  Maududi's vision of an Islamic state went beyond the 1947 creation of Pakistan, a homeland for south Asian Muslims, after the British withdrawal from India  When his political party, Jamaat-i-Islami took to the streets, the secular Pakistan government jailed him

22  Another influential thinker in the Islamic world was Egypt's military ruler Gamal Abdel Nasser  Nasser offered a different vision for the Islamic world  He had a vision of secular nationalism  In turn, he sought to suppress the Muslim Brotherhood, one of the most important movements in the history of political Islam

23  The Muslim Brotherhood had been founded in Egypt in 1928 to promote Islamic values  President Nasser feared and distrusted the Muslim Brotherhood which was founded in 1929  While many of its projects concentrated on social works, it was its political edge that concerned Nasser  One of those imprisoned by the president was writer Sayyid Qutb, a schoolteacher who had worked in America

24  Qutb had found America and its culture an uncomfortable experience; on his return to Egypt he joined the Muslim Brotherhood, an apparent reaction to his antipathy towards his interpretation of Western society  His own thinking was influenced by one of the key ideas favored by Maududi - that Muslims risked falling into the state of "ignorance" (in Arabic “jahiliyya”) that existed prior to the revelation of Islam by allowing their faith to be mixed by ideas from the West

25  Sayyid Qutb now took this concept much further, after his own views grew more extreme under torture by his Egyptian jailers  He said that almost all the world's Muslims were in fact living in ignorance, in Jahiliyya - and that true Islam was almost extinct  But Qutb then went further: he claimed that Muslims who did not adhere to this strict interpretation of their faith were subject to “takfir” – excommunication

26  Traditional Sufi Muslims objected strongly to the idea, not least because they demanded to know who had the power to decide, other than God, whether someone was a good Muslim

27  However, Qutb in the 1960s believed that since almost all the world's Muslims were essentially ignorant of Islam, the only true Muslims would be those who struggled with him, as part of his vanguard for Islamic revolution  This has led some scholars and writers to compare Islamist movements with communism  Jason Burke, a writer on Al-Qaeda, says Qutb's book, 'Milestones', was a turning point for political Islam  "If you look at Milestones, you can see it is almost a Communist Manifesto, but in Islamic terms," he says

28  The Egyptian Muslim Brothers found a powerful new patron in Saudi King Faisal, according to Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui  It was an exciting time for political Islam  Activists from all over the world found refuge in Saudi Arabia where money flowed and there were jobs for everyone  As the activists came into the country, new organizations sprouted - some of them running camps to spread their political ideas  And when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, those seeking a cause in which to fight for the glory of their faith, knew where they would now turn

29  A deal was struck between the Muslim Brothers and Saudi Arabia, that Saudis would give jobs and protection to the Muslim Brother leadership and in return the Muslim Brothers would mobilize Islamic movements in support of the Saudis  "They got together for the glory and leadership of Saudi Arabia as the custodian of two holy places of Islam."

30  In the decade after Sayyid Qutb's execution in 1966, his ideology spread

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