Gamal Abdel-Nasser (1918-1970)
The pioneer of Arabic socialism and the leader of their struggle in one of the most critical periods in their history.
Nasser was born on the 15th of January in 1918 in the poor Alexandrian suburb of Bacos to southern Egyptian parents.
Talking about his childhood Nasser says "I am proud to belong to this small village of Beni Morr. And I am more proud to be a member of a poor family from that village. I am saying these words for history that Nasser was born in a poor family and I promise that he will live and die a poor man."
Beni Morr is a small village in Upper Egypt lies in the province of Assiut. Belonging to such a place was may be the reason why Nasser always focused his thoughts on peasants.
He always thought of their poverty and suffering. Nasser's father was an employee of the middle class which made Nasser more aware of poverty of the majority of the people in Egypt.
Nasser joined the military collage after the signature of the 1936 pact which allowed lower class youth to join such a collage that they were not allowed to before this pact.
He graduated in July 1938 and hence joined the Egyptian army.
Dissatisfied with the corruption of the king Farouk regime and the British occupation, together with a group of colleagues, he formed a semi-underground organization, The Free Officers, known in Egypt as El-Dhobatt El-Ahrar.
He fought in the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948. Participating in this war increased his awareness of the Palestinean problem and the contemporary Arabic case.
The corruption of the government inside and the losing of the 1948 war were the main motives that made The Free Officers led by General Mohammed Naguib up rise the revolution of 23rd of July 1952.
General Naguib was a respected senior officer who was only appointed as a figure-leader to enhance the credibility of the coup.
On July 26, King Farouk of Egypt left Alexandria on his personal Yacht, never to return to Egypt again, and his toddler son, Ahmad Fouad, was soon declared King.
The remaining British troops were asked to evacuate the country and, by 1954, the last British soldier had indeed left.
The Free Officers gradually engaged in politics during the following years. In 1953, the Free Officers deposed Ahmad Fouad, the last King, and declared Egypt a Republic, with Mohamed Naguib as its first president.
Naguib, who grew up within the old system, was a courageous yet peaceful man and had no plans for radical change.
So he too was deposed in 1954 by the true leader of the coup, Nasser, who became the country's head of state.
It was only when Nasser became president that the 1952 military coup started turning into a real social and political revolution, now referred to as the 1952 Revolution.
Nasser was highly praised for his Nationalization of the Suez Canal, his Agrarian reform, and his socialist policies that brought the vast majority of Egyptians out of poverty.
Nasser achieved unprecedented popularity throughout the Arab world. He was admired for his rousing support of Arab Nationalism; his domestic social programs (which, for the first time in Egypt's history, sought to better the lot of the peasant majority)
Nasser spent his life defending the Arab Nationalism and the people's right to be free. He supported liberal movements against all types of occupation in the developing countries.
Nasser was a founding-leader of the Nonaligned movement. Along with India's Nehru and Indonesia's Sukarno, Nasser became a major international power-broker in the politics of the developing world.
Shortly after the defeat 1967, Nasser resigned, but thousands of Cairenes marched in his support. For the next three years, Nasser did his best to rebuild the Egyptian army and he almost succeeded.
His death in 1970 of serious health complications sent shock waves throughout the Arab world.
In a stunning display of emotion, millions of Egyptians followed his funeral procession through the streets of Cairo.