Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Second Exodus – Egypt – CLIX. A Country in Turmoil (1 of 7)

The Alawiyya dynasty which reigned over Egypt for 150 years came to an end in 1952. King Farouk was deposed by the Free Officers in the 1952 Revolution. Farouk was replaced by the infant King Fouad II, under a regency council. But the “reign” of Fouad was of short duration. Less than a year later, the monarchy was abolished, and Egypt had its first republic. Thus, various forms of monarchy came to an abrupt end 4,000 years later!

Before 1952, Egypt enjoyed a democratic form of government for many decades. The Wafd party which was formed in 1924, governed the country until 1952. Opposition parties were allowed, and the Sa’adi party was the most prominent. Bona fide Western-Style elections were conducted at regular intervals.

The 1952 Revolution

On July 23, 1952, the Free Officers led by General Mohammed Naguib staged a military Coup that started the 1952 revolution.

The 9 Free Officers formed a command committee, to them were added 5 more members including General Naguib; but the real power behind this military coup was Gamal Abdel Nasser.

[The Western press had unfortunately shortened Abdel Nasser’ name to the point that it had become meaningless. Therefore, a word of explanation is in order. Gamal is a boy’s name, and it means beauty; the equivalent for a girl would be Gamila, which means beautiful. Abdel Nasser means the Slave (as in doing God’s bidding) of the Victorious. In Islam God is given 99 names related to His attributes; for example Rahman is one of God’s name and it means Merciful. To call Abdel Nasser just Nasser is totally erroneous. The beauty of the full name is that you (if given that name) are expected to do God’s will, and in this case it is to come out victorious in the battles that you will face in your life. And Abdel Nasser did emerge victorious in the contest that really counted: Help his long-suffering people.]

One of the first actions of this new government was to send King Farouk into exile. He was forced to abdicate in favor of his infant son, Ahmed Fouad. Farouk had little choice in the matter after he has been abandoned first by Britain, and next by the U.S. Thus, on July 26, 1952, the king left his native country (with protection from the Egyptian army) on his yacht, Al Mahrusa, for Italy.

On June 1953, the revolutionary government abolished the monarchy; Egypt for the first time in its history became a republic; its first president was General Naguib. In 1954, Naguib was ousted from power and put under house arrest. He was succeeded by Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Political parties were dissolved, and Egypt was now governed by one party. The president could be reelected (in an election where he was the only candidate) if he managed to secure two- third of the votes. Both Abdel Nasser and succeeding presidents always managed to secure the required votes!

The new administration was faced with many issues; I will mention the three most important ones.

Poverty. On September 9, 1952 the Agrarian Reform Law was passed; under this law, no person could own more than 200 feddans, thus a redistribution of land took place. This law greatly helped the farmers who until now have been renting their land from wealthy landowners. Other measures were taken to address poverty in the cities. To say that poverty was eradicated after that would certainly qualify as gross exaggeration. But it was a beginning.

Ignorance. While free education (including university) had existed in Egypt for a long time, education was now made compulsory up to grade 6.

Corruption. The corruption that existed in Egypt before the revolution was beyond comprehension. An extreme example: defective weapons were purchased for the army, with higher powers pocketing the “gain” made on such acquisitions. In the 1948 war against Israel, soldiers faced the enemy with flawed weapons! Indeed, it was on Israel’s battlefields that the Egyptian revolution was born.

Gamal Abdel Nasser died in 1970. He was succeeded by his vice-president Anwar El Sadat. Sadat was assassinated on October 6, 1981. In turn, he was replaced by his vice president, a former head of the Egyptian Air Force, Hosni Mubarak. Finally, Mubarak was ousted in a popular revolution in January 2011.

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