Sixty-seven years ago this week (October 29), some fascists posing as democrats aka Israel, France and Great Britain attacked Egypt to overthrow its charismatic and popular leader, Gamal Abdel Nasser, who they perceived to be a huge thorn to the protection of their interests, namely to subdue the Palestinians and throttle Arab sovereignty and nationalism. It wasn’t called regime change then, of course and that was the last time the Great Britain did something without the explicit permission of the United States.
Nasser became ever-popular and secure as a result of this faux pax (a bit like the humiliation the United States faced just six years later in the Bay of Pigs fiasco when it tried to mount its own regime change against Fidel Castro). He went onto lead Egypt for 14 more years, and died a natural death. I was most recently recently reminded of this important and poignant moment in Third World history while re-watching Michal Goldman’s excellent documentary on Nasser a few weeks ago. How far the Arab world and Middle East in general have come since those halcyon days!
Written by Raza Naeem | Lahore