July 23, 2015

Today in History: Egyptian revolution (1952)

John RobsonResident Historian
 

July 23 is the anniversary of the coup that overthrew the Egyptian monarchy and brought the modernizing strongman Gamal Abdel Nasser to power.

Today Nasser’s brand of anti-western secular socialist dictator seems almost as antiquated as the title King of Egypt, largely because of the squalid failure of such regimes from Ghana to Egypt to Iran (though they were more successful, and less socialist, in parts of East Asia including Singapore and Taiwan).

And the wave of upheaval against the West typically wears a religious face especially in the Middle East.

But it is important to understand that both the 1950s-style nationalist who saw traditional religion as an impediment to modernization and the early 21st-century jihadist who sees traditional religion as the only hope were both reacting, frantically and ineffectively, to the terrifying military, economic and above all cultural dynamism of Western individualism.


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Comments
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commented 2015-07-24 13:57:35 -0400
Great band – killer song. The conversation brings another song title to mind. “I Hate That I Love You”. “They” hate that they “Love” us. Metaphorically of course.
commented 2015-07-23 23:32:06 -0400
Hmmm ….. Well, China is trying to do its best to modernize … and has done okay, so far, from appearances. Of course, when its stock market crashes, the government simply inflates its currency to compensate and it does the same to compete on the world stage, which is really kind of cheating, but hey, cheating is what makes free enterprise doable, right? Law in the west, like everywhere else, is only binding if it catches you.

Someone I know was jailed for her views, in part for her views on the 2003 invasion of Iraq. To protest being thrown in jail for such a political reason, she sang for the whole courthouse to hear: “Iraqis like American music, Iraqis like American culture, Iraqis like American money … that’s why we’re free” to the tune of “American Music” by Violent Femmes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d34hsuSceD0
commented 2015-07-23 20:39:43 -0400
I like hearing from John. He really puts things in its proper historical perspective.
commented 2015-07-23 16:42:28 -0400
Another excellent article John. the one thing that spearheaded the socialist presidents to life was the Second World War when the Italians and the Germans entered (invaded) the middle east When the allied armies ( UK ANZAC S. AFRICANS FRENCH AMERICANS CANADIAN, INDIANS ET AL) expelled and freed the Middle East They left the seeds of freedom for those countries. The Military and their elites, most were persuaded by the communist socialists of the time. Most of the potentates came to power by promising change (better food, housing farm reform and such) Unfortunately the inhabits of those countries were not up to modernization and those leaders enriched there own pockets