July 23 rd Revolution, turning point in Egyptian History
Egypt, History, 9/28/2000
The July 23rd Revolution is a turning point in the history of Egypt and the entire Third World during the second half of the 20th century. The Revolution sprang from the Egyptian conscience, reflecting the history, traditions and heritage of the Egyptian people. The Revolution changed the face of life in Egypt dramatically .
The homeland's independence and dignity were restored; the overwhelming majority of the Egyptian people regained their stature and rights; the key mission of the leadership achieved progress and development for the Egyptian citizen in his present and future. The Revolution, remains despite all international changes and events of history, a precious value in itself that belongs to all the Egyptian people. The Revolution derived its principles from the values of the Egyptian people such as social justice, rejection of alliance policy, the Non-Alignment Movement (NAM) led by Egypt, independence of national decision, and building a strong army. All these values, incarnated the principles of the Revolution and are in fact the values of the Egyptian people borne in the national conscience throughout the prolonged course of struggle.
The Free Officers and the Outbreak of the Revolution:
A secret call in the army - including a number of officers from different corps known as the free officers group - was set up early in 1952 and led by Lieutenant Colonel Gamal Abd Al- Nasser.
In the morning of July 23 of the very same year, army forces marched to take control of government authorities and bodies, the radio, and public utilities. Major Muhammad Anwar Al- Sadat broadcasted a statement to the people of Egypt in which he declared the outbreak of a peaceful bloodless movement by the army forces for the national welfare on the basis of revolutionary legitimacy.
Motives of Revolution:
1 ) Corruption of Political and Constitutional Conditions:
A result of the corrupt royal regime, and the corruption of party system in the absence of a sound democratic one, due to the rigging of elections in favour of the minority parties which ruled the country under the sway of the king whose throne was protected by the British.
A flagrant example of such corruption was the king's interference to put parliamentary life out of action by suspending the enforcement of the Constitution and dissolving the House of Representatives on and on again.
2 ) Continuation of British Occupation:
The British had been occupying Egypt for more than seventy years and provokingly interfering in its domestic affairs since then. There was utterly no sign of any probable evacuation in the horizon inspite of Britain's recognition of Egypt as an independent sovereign state. The British interference in Egypt's domestic affairs went on unceasingly (i.e. February 4. events, and the assault against the city of Ismailiya).
3 ) Deterioration of Economic Conditions:
The Egyptian economy was based upon agricultural production only, especially cotton. In addition, unemployment spread; wages and standard of living were on the decline; industry was neglected; foreigners were controlling national economy represented in the huge companies of insurance, foreign trade as well as banks.
4 ) Deterioration of Social Conditions:
The Egyptian society was divided into two completely separate classes. The first was few in number comprising the feudalist and capitalist tycoons with no more percentage than 0.5% of the total population. Yet, this class manipulated the country's wealth whereas the second class representing the overwhelming majority of the people included peasants, craftsmen, retail merchants and labourers. This class had very limited ownership rights and made low incomes. Consequently, education and health services were neglected; poverty, illiteracy and disease spread in shocking numbers. 5 ) The Tragedy of the War of Palestine 1948:
The War of Palestine engraved profound stains of grief in the souls of the Egyptian people and bitter sharp-cut incurable scars in the Egyptian army's officers and soldiers, especially those who took part in the War in a violent reaction against the shocking stupendous corruption that took hold of those controlling the army. The dud arms deals which claimed the lives of many innocent people were among the shameful cold-blooded signs of such corruption.
Targets of The Revolution:
The July 23rd Revolution laid out the landmarks of its course and field of work for building a new society summarized in six principles as follows:
Putting an end to the British occupation and its accomplice Egyptian traitors by confronting the British forces stationing in the Suez Canal area.
Eliminating feudalism in opposition to its domination over land and people
Eliminating capitalism and individual monopoly to combat resources of wealth exploitation being at the service and in the hands of a group of capitalists for their sole interests.
Establishment of social justice in opposition to exploitation and cruelty, the normal outcome of social injustice.
Building a strong national army to foil foreign conspiracies working to undermine Egypt's military power. This army will also serve as a shield against the anti-revolution supporters at home.
Setting a sound democratic system to confront political falsification that attempted to wipe out the features of national identity.
July Revolution Foreign Policy:
The July 23 rd Revolution delineated its foreign policy in a book entitled Philosophy of the Revolution " issued by President Gamal Abd Al- Nasser suggesting three arenas that Egypt should move in, as follows:
First: The Arab Arena:
" Can we ignore the existence of an Arab arena surrounding us and that it belongs to us as much as we belong to it ? Our history has intermingled with its history and our interests have interwoven with its interests.
Second: The African Arena:
" Can we ignore that there is an African continent to which we were destined to belong; a continent destined as well to witness a horrific conflict on its future; a conflict that will force its impact on us for better or for worse whether we liked it or not?. "
Third : The Islamic Arena:
" Can we ignore the existence of an Islamic world to which we are bound not only by creed but by historical facts as well?" Quoting President Mubarak in his address on the 41st anniversary of the July 23rd Revolution in 1993, he said: " The July Revolution shall remain till the end of time one of the greatest events in the history of Egypt, which we celebrate its glorious memory every year. We will always renew our honour and pride in a unique national revolution that changed the face of life in Egypt, becoming among the greatest revolutions in the history of mankind."
From this point of view, the date of July 23rd 1952 deserved to be the national day in the chronicle of national history of the Egyptian people over spans of their long struggle to restore freedom, dignity and independence after a lengthy era of injustice and oppression.
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