Saturday, 12 February 2011

Milestones in the history of Egypt

In a couple of earlier posts I described the major events in Egypt in 1952 and 1953, in particular my arrival in Ismailia in February 1952, my move to Fayid in July that year and my return to England in January 1953. I am now able to add a note about contemporaneous happenings there and subsequent developments.

On 23rd July 1952 King Farouk was deposed by the Free Officers movement led by Gamel Abdel Nasser and Mohamed Naguib Yousef Qotp (Qotp?) Elkashlan, and the latter became Egypt's first Prime Minister. Eleven months later the Republic of Egypt was established and Naguib was sworn in as President. He had often been censured and as a child sometimes even whipped by his British tutors for criticizing Britain's occupation of Egypt and Sudan, but I had always felt he was a reasonable chap as army officers go and although I never actually met him I was ready to give him my full support had he asked me.

In November 1954, however, he was ousted by Nasser. By that time I was working in England as Export Manager for an American firm of proprietary medicine manufacturers, so I could play no part in what happened later: in fact, my influence on Middle Eastern affairs generally had declined for ever; Suez, the rise and fall of Saddam Hussein and the departure of the Shah all took place without my involvement, though over the years I had some happy times in Amman, Tehran, Tel Aviv, Damascus, Luxor and many other hot noisy places where people try to sell you things.

And I never gave a thought to Hosni Mubarak, or he to me, during his thirty years of brutal dictatorship, until the last eighteen days and the immensely satisfying dénouement yesterday.

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