Unrest in Egypt: An Egyptian on the 1952 revolution
The abortion of Hosni Mubarak's 30-year presidency will almost surely supplant the 1952 coup -- which deposed the monarchy in Cairo and installed the dictatorial regime that effectively continued until today -- as the true revolution in the minds of Egyptians. In 2009, on the 57th anniversary of the 1952 revolt, Egyptian journalist Sherine El Madany penned a blog post for us describing her nation's divided view of the revolution's true meaning. Below is an excerpt from the post, the entirety of which is a must-read in light of today's historic news.
Today, more than a half century later, Egyptians remain divided on what the 1952 revolution meant. One group, pro-revolution and pro-Nasser, believes the revolution marked a new beginning for Egypt that was finally free from the British colonialists and the King’s autocracy -- in other words, an Egypt finally governed by Egyptians.
Meanwhile, anti-revolution and anti-Nasser Egyptians are nostalgic for what they recall as an era of democracy, prosperity and liberalism. They refer to the revolution as a conspiracy to overthrow a good, progressive monarch.
Both groups are adamant about their views and raise their children to adopt the same beliefs. For years, the pro-Nasser Egyptians were louder in expressing their support of the revolution, speaking of patriotism, nationalism and social equality. However, as a majority of Egyptians nowadays find themselves struggling to make ends meet, anti-Nasserists have managed to rally some support. In their eyes, the result of the revolution was to make rich Egyptians poor and poor Egyptians poorer. Until almost three years ago, anti-Nasserists were not able to express their views openly for fear of being regarded as ruthless aristocrats who oppressed poor Egyptians. But amid escalating poverty rates and public dismay over lack of democracy under Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, anti-Nasserists finally are speaking out. ...
Despite Egyptians’ opposing views of the revolution’s objectives, there seems to be one thing they agree on: The revolution failed to promote democracy. Since July 23, 1952, the Egyptian military has never really left the executive offices because all leaders have come out of the military and remain horrified by opposition.
-- Paul Thornton