Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein’s funeral takes place where 48 mourners are killed at his funeral as millions march.
Nasser was the second Egyptian president and famously led the 1952 overthrow of the monarchy and introduced far-reaching land reforms the following year. His famously fought the British and French invasion that led to the Suez Crisis, as well as an invasion of Israel in the 1956. The Suez Crisis arose from Western aims to control to canal and remove Nasser from office. Nasser instead wanted to nationalise the canal.
Nasser won both the military and political battle as the United States, the Soviet Union, and the United Nations put pressure on Britain and France to withdraw their invasion. It was a humiliating episode for the two countries and made Nasser one of the heroic figures of modern Egyptian history.
My reflection is a sort of lament, since Egypt’s story since independence follows a trend of many other countries that gained independence in the last century. The started off well and laid promising foundations, but foundations that were still weak. Whether from internal conflict or the changing global political scene, many nations still find themselves very unstable, manifest in internal conflict, and even poorer than they were at independence. Nassar’s story for me is just a reminder that it takes more than a hero and a victor of a conflict to make a nation. It takes stability, unity, and faith in institutions as well.