My days and thoughts....

Blog covering some selected happenings in my life.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Comparison between the Monarch and Republic affairs.

I have been following this TV Series about King Farouq I, the overthrown monarch and the last ruling member of the royal family. Although nominaly King Ahmed Fouad II was the list king of Egypt, but he was 6 months old when he was a declared as a king and he was in Italy with his family till the declaration of the republic and abolishment of monarchy one year later. That particular part of history, the reign of king Farouq is a much contested part of our modern history. All what we learnt in school is that the monarchy was full of corruption, agency of the palace to the British, social injustice and lack of development. Unfortunately there aren't many "unbiased" sources about that period. Either the bull crap of the pro Nasserists idiots or the pro royalists who linger to their lost titles and lands. However, its possible to gather some bits pieces of information form some articles published here and there or some books (who mostly happen to be about other nations) that mentions Egypt during the 1940s. Historians are also very biased, not to mention Mohamed Hassanein Heikal. I think Dr. Younan Labib Rizk is not that biased but I haven't read much for him.

Hereby, I am writing about what I the opinion I am starting to formulate about that period. Unfortunately I have no academic or solid sources on the internet or current published books and it would take me sometime to state my references and distinguish that from my own analysis.

First of all, Egypt was governed by the 1923 constitution. This constitution gave more powers to the Prime Minister than the King and also to the parliament. I am not sure but I think the king had the right to remove or force the Prime Minister to resign which would result in new elections. I am trying to find the text of that constitution to read more about it. This constitution faced more challenges from the British occupation. At the onset of the World War II, the british Ambassador forced the palace backed prime minister who happened to the be the royal bureau chief to declare martial law. This setback to democracy was forced upon us by the brittons. Also I believe that martial law was declared once more during the 1948 war against the newly declared State of Israel. Also the constitution was replaced from 1930-1936 by the Sedqi Constitution which put more more into the hands of the King Ahmed Fuad I. So Basically, the 1923 constitution which was abolished in which lasted from 1924 till 1952 was actually in action for a maximum of 16 years. So we had a maximum of 16 years of true democracy. Now back to King Farouk's reign. He ascended to the thrown at the age of 16 and actually got power at the age of 17 in 1937. Actually his royal bureau were taking decision on his behalf most of the time and they were his advisers. He inherited them from his father, he didn't choose them. Right after he assumed powers he was faced by the British snobbishness. In 1942, a British tank brigade surrounded the Abdeen palace and confronted the king with a throne surrender or accept a ministry of Wafd. The British Ambassador was the actual ruler of the country not the prime minister who just administered the government or the king. Sir Miles Lampson is one of the people who caused setback to democracy in Egypt before Nasser.

The High Dam is one of the achievements that is attributed to the Nasser Regime which is the offspring of the military coup. According to one of the Wafd Party writers a couple of years ago, I think either Gamal Badawy, Abdel Rahman Fahmy or Abbas El Tarabily, the High Dam project was discussed by the Wafd Party before in the 1940s. Why didn't the Wafd party carry ahead with it. Just for the same reasons that faced the Military Regime of Nasser, the lack of funding. How did Nasser solve that problem? He expropriated the Suez Canal, 11 years before its official return to Egypt and engaged the country in a new war that led to the tri Anglo Franco Israeli aggression against Egypt!!! I believe if the Coup was delayed 3-4 years, we would have seen a lot of new investments in the country specially after the payments and british reimbursements to the Egyptian government after leasing and devastating the country in the World War II. All the industrial projects that took place after the revolution were inherited from pre 1952 governments such as the steel factory that was built in Helwan. The source of the next information is from a sociology book and partly supplemented by the sociology professor at university. That giant steel factory in Helwan was already planned to be at aswan near the iron mines pre 1952. But Nasser decided to ruin that ancient city that was a rehabiliatation resort more prominent during the era of the Umayyid Caliph Abdel Malek ibn Marwan, by placing the factory in it, causing the economy more costs in transportation and devastating the environment because he wanted to gather popular support for him at any time the need arises.

I will edit that post later.

I might get comments like why are you talking about a 50 years old issue and leaving the current unrest and uprising in Egypt like the recent 30'000 employee strike in Mahalla or the connection to the current sad affairs in the country. Well, I am trying to embark on showing a direct connection to the illegitimacy of the current Mubarak and his NDP gangsters rule.

PS. I have nothing against the British. I am just talking about history. I am an avid lover of the English football and of London and Oxford.

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Anonymous Aizi said...

I really enjoyed your post especially the second half of it and the fact that the Revolution attributed some of the main projects of the time to itself rather than to its actual sources. Think of it that way; had the steel factory been built in Upper Egypt given the proximity to the mines, Egypt would have been saved a lot on economic and environmental grounds. Yet, this was an era with no proper economic planning. A simple cost-benefit analysis (I'm an economist) would have shown that such a factory would bring more loss than gain. If people defend Nasser, they simply defend him on the basis of what he did for the country; Pan Arabism, dignity to the Egyptians and to the Arab world....Words, words words...but where were the actions? Egypt was a net exporter of agricultural products; food (including wheat), and cotton. After the agricultural laws and limiting the amount of land per person, how could the exporting of agricultural products continue? Farmers were concerned with breeding lots of kids to cultivate their 5 Feddans (and hence the population increase), feeding those kids, and building homes on such newly acquired pieces of land. End result? The erosion of the Delta soil; the most fertile of the country, and Egypt becoming a net importer of agricultural products. Where is the economic sense here? Where was the proper planning. All this said, I would seriously not doubt that the idea of the High Dam was not that of the Nasser's era. How could it be given the abovementioned actions?

October 15, 2007 5:27 AM  

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