History is not only about the past; it’s about the past, present and future as well, meaning it’s the incidents that took place, completed its action and became solid facts on the ground. It’s also analyzing the beginnings, course and results of that which completed its actions. It’s the lessons learnt and laws governing the dynamism of human beings in place and through time… as a result, it became confirmed that historical contexts are regarded as continuous graphical line having ups and downs, or as continuous circles like those of the spiral spring; each circle is connected to the one preceding and the one following it.
Therefore, nations, which are human congregations, make their history through the interplay of place, time and humans, in doing so, they develop unchangeable and undeniable constants. Maintaining those constants and strengthening their roles become the criterion to know if nations are living or dead. They are also the criterion to assess the roles of intellectuals and leaders to know if they did their task or not. This is what the people of Egypt and some of its intellectuals and leaders did throughout time.
Here we come to the question that some – who consider themselves intellectuals – turned into an unquestionable reality: is it logical to have issues or phenomena that can be described as eternal and are not subject to change or dying? Their answer is: “There is nothing called national constants or historical facts… everything is relative and subject to changes of time.” Hence, some issues, that are considered national taboos, became totally accepted in their “enlightened” “progressive” point of view, like cooperating with the Zionist enemy in times when its aggression on the Arab and Egyptian national security was at its peak.
Therefore, in my opinion, Gamal Abdel-Nasser is not just a human, Arab-national and patriotic leader who lived in the time period from X to Y, did X, Y, Z and made mistakes just like all humans. However, in addition to all that, he is a historic figure who realized his nation’s constants and laws governing the historical dynamism of this nation. He also worked to reinforce those constants and strengthen their effect; moreover, he searched for new scopes to confirm their historical and moral legitimacy.
Before going on talking about the concept of historic figure and essence of what Nasser presented to the since-eternity-and-until-forever well-established national constants, I’d like to mention that the world knew more than one method adopted by certain nations to add legitimacy to what those nations regard as their national constants and security, as the United States in the post-World War I era announced the Fourteen Points of President Wilson. In the post-World War II and during the fifties, they adopted the policy of filling the hegemonic vacuum, and now, for example and in continuity for what happened during the times of Carter, Regan and those who succeeded them, we have this account of the Zionist Christian fundamentalism and the thousand-year king; meaning that Jesus will come back to rule the world for thousand years with goodness, love and fighting evil, and that he will not come back unless the Temple is built in Al-Quds “Jerusalem” and the state of Israel becomes powerful, in addition to other issues representing the foundations of the Presbyterian Evangelical Church. As to Nazism, this cover was the superiority of the Aryan race and doctrine of Lebensraum. France, meantime, adopted the principle of belonging to the Francophone culture.
As to Gamal Abdel-Nasser, he went on reinforcing the constants of the Egyptian national security adopting the theory and method of national liberation and Arab-national belonging. He was creative in his vision for Egypt’s role within three connected foreign circles; the Arab, African and Islamic circles. That was at the beginning of the revolution at the early fifties. Due to different changes, those circles broadened to include the circle of national liberation in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Adding to this his endeavors seeking the African unity and Arab one based on human foundations including same belonging, same suffering and same hopes, not to mention the common cultural aspects. This is what I believe will not only last for long decades, but forever.
Moreover, as long as issues of national independence, international and regional role, sustainable comprehensive development, strengthening the national economy, working for achieving more human freedom, common interests between the Egyptian circle and the Arab and African ones, necessity to go in a way different to those heading west or east exist, then the method Nasser established over what he realized of what I called laws governing the historical dynamism of interplay between place, time and humans in Egypt proves to be right.
For example, and not exclusively, the reciprocal relationship between the river and sea as it was proved, throughout time, that Egypt’s power comes from the cohesion of its people and balance among its social classes. Such cohesion and balance cannot be maintained unless the movement of the river, either its flood or drought, is adjusted and regulated with people’s relation to it. Otherwise, there will be fighting over its waters in a country looking like an oasis surrounded by a vast desert environment. If this thing happens with the river, then Egypt sets off in its environment and blocks the sea; meaning preventing those coming to it seeking to steal its fortunes from reaching to its heart and dismantling it. All great leaders of Egypt – meaning the historic figures – realized this fact and their greatness was about their ability to control the river by building dams, reservoirs, and barrages and digging irrigation channels.
This is what we knew. An example for this in the modern time is Muhammed Ali and his family who built Al-Kanater Al-Khayriya and after this Aswan reservoir, then Gamal Abdel-Nasser built the High Dam. There are many laws governing the historical dynamism that are too many to detail in this limited space, of them are social equality, interaction of cultural components including the religious and folkloric ones…etc.
What is left of Nasser, and will last for very long time, are his method and endeavors to reinforce the national constants and giving their implementation a human cover.
Translated into English by: Dalia Elnaggar
This article was published in Al Ahram Al Arabi magazine on January 11, 2018.
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