Image 1 of 12: Pre-Coup: King Farouk, the Last (de facto) King of Egypt, overthrown 1952 by the July 23 Revolution (in fact his baby son
Fouad II succeeded him briefly before being in turn deposed). Last bastion of the Muhamad Ali Dynasty, his rule was riddled
with corruption and marred by an Israeli defeat.
Image 1 of 12: The Egypt of Farouk's reign sponsored the rise of big landowners and elite decadence, thus spawning injustice and
corruption, feeding ills in society. Still, this Egypt was clean, spacey, stylish. In Farouk's time there was generally
freedom of press and elections, and no political prisoners.
Image 1 of 12: Liberal Egypt: 1940s & 1950s are considered the golden age of Egyptian cinema. By 1966,
the Egyptian film industry was nationalized and fell of, or "it went to the dogs". The "heavy government
hand" "stifled innovation"; and free scenes in bedroom and politics
were consigned to a bygone era.
Image 1 of 12: Colonel-President: 2nd (of 4 ) President of the Republic following Muhamad Naguib's short rule:
He steered the military
vanguard, or Free Officers of the Revolution, to topple the monarchy (of Egypt & Sudan, as it stood).
He ushered in a new period of modernization and socialist reform in Egypt.
Image 1 of 12: Arab hero: He combated Arab impotence, standing up to the British - He nationalized the Suez Canal-
and taking an anti-imperialist stance for Arabs and Africans.
Nasserism his brand of pan-Arabism and nationalisation schemes restored Arab pride and inspired hopes to
defeat the Israeli enemy.
Image 1 of 12: New landowners, and Nasserites: He offered a viable alternative to the filthy rich and desperately poor. A
Robin Hood- seizing and redistributing land among the poor and creating a new class for Egypt. Popular
for his Arab unity ambitions, not least his noble and near-triumphs against Israel.
Image 1 of 12: Sadat's 'Opening', (Infitah): 3rd President Anwar Sadat, served from Nasser's death 1970
to his own end,1981. He departed from Nasser's legacy of a closed Egypt, with his own initiative:
opening the market to outside investment. He made peace with Israel and cut off the Soviets, for the U.S.
Image 1 of 12: Fat cats Sadat can be credited with laying down for his legacy as well as the controversial peace treaty with Israel, a new
class of business players-- the 'fat cats' as they were tagged. These newly enriched tycoons, symbols of opportunism
and rampant nepotism, sucked up power and squandered it.
Image 1 of 12: Mubarak invited these fat cat-tycoons into politics: famous example Ahmed Ezz (or Steel Man). This was a direct
continuation of Sadat's policy but, where this greedy class had been more discreet and implicitly promoted under Mubarak,
they were now explicitly given free reign in politics & power.
Image 1 of 12: Dirty Egypt: Egypt today is crowded with very high population densities. Cairo, specifically,
is renowned for its pollution & grime, in stark contrast to the Egypt of the pre-Coup era with its roominess, clean feel
& liberal character. The notoriously decrepit taxi cabs replace the fancy cars.
Image 1 of 12: Egypt today from Egypt of yesterday: The transformation from a liberal culture to a more conservative one is embodied
in one actress, Suhair Ramzi.
Image 1 of 12: Full circle, Revolution 2011: Tahrir espoused similar tenets that precipitated the revolution this time
59 years ago: striving for an independent foreign policy as well as economic & political freedoms;
redistribution of wealth, income, & property, toward satisfying the basic needs of the people.
How has Egypt 'changed' since the conditions were ripe for a revolution nearly 60 years ago?
The First Ouster: of that first unwanted Pharoah, King Farouk.
Egypt's monarchy, by the time of this revolution, had started to stand for corruption scandals and decadent living, with a growing gap between the rich landowners (including the King) and the general masses.
Led by Gamal Abdel Nasser the second President of Egypt from 1956, along with Muhammad Naguib, the first president, this Revolution of July 1952 overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan, and heralded a new period of modernization, and socialist reform in Egypt, together with a profound advancement of pan-Arab nationalism, including a short-lived union with Syria.
Nasser shared power and wealth more equally with all elements of the population and encouraged education for the masses.
Since 1948 there have been 4 wars between Egypt and Isarel: one pre-Revolution of '52 and the others during Nasser's reign. Nasser's near victories with the Zionist neighbor compensated for Farouk's out-and-out defeat by Israel.
Though Mubarak's era was marked by peace and no wars or insecurity for the people, the conditions that led to a call for change existed, and poltical freedoms topped the agenda in a reign that was characterized by political imprisonments and no free press.
The second Ouster: Husni Mubarak and his fat-cat regime
Almost 60 years on, and this time not headed up by the military but by the people in concert with the military, the President of the Republic was forced to step away, to pave the way to democracy.