Saturday marks the 43rd anniversary of the passing of the late Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, leader of the 23 July 1952 revolution.
Nasser was born on Jan 15, 1918 to a low-income family, and became the second president of Egypt, assuming the positing in 1956 and holding it until his death in 1970.
Nasser was considered a leader of many national liberation movements against occupiers in Egypt, Arab countries, and the African continent.
His neutral polices during the cold war affected Egyptian relations with the West, causing them to refuse financing the High Dam, which Nasser planned to build. Nasser responded to this by nationalizing the Suez Canal Company in 1956, which led Britain, France and Israel to occupy the Sinai. They would later withdraw, due to international pressure. Following this, Nasser’s popularity grew widely in the Middle East, along with the calls for Arab unity, and this became manifest in the formation of the United Arab Republic with Syria (1958-1961).
In 1962, Nasser began a series of socialist reforms and technological advancements in Egypt. Despite the decline of Arab nationalism in 1963, pro-Nasserists took power in some Arab countries. In 1964 Nasser created a new constitution, and in the same year he became the head of the Non-Aligned Movement.
His second term began in March 1965 after unopposed elections. This was followed by Egypt’s defeat in the 1967 war against Israel, causing him to resign. However, he would return to the presidency following mass demonstrations demanding his reinstatement, and between 1967 and 1968, he instated himself as Prime Minister, and began the war of attrition to restore the lost territories in 1967 war. He also began the process of depoliticizing the army, and declared new liberal political reforms.
After a great deal of exertion in the Arab Summit in 1970, Nasser suffered a heart attack and died. About five million people attended his funeral in Cairo.