Gamal Abdel-Nasser was born on 15th January 1918, at 18 Qanawat Street in Bacchus, Alexandria to Abdel-Nasser Hussein. Though he hailed from a humble background he earned sufficient education to earn him a job at the post office. During his education at Ras El-Tin High School that leadership and nationalistic ideas were molded in the young leader. The cancellation of the constitution by the Ministry of Ismail Sidky gave Gamal the opportunity to attend his first nationalistic demonstration, 1930, in which several students including him were incarcerated. It is through this experience that the need for reforms was inculcated into young Gamal through the initiatives of the Young Egypt society.
Nationalism in Gamal was inspired in the colonial era. It was motivated by the desire of the Egyptians to gain independence from British colonial rule. Defiance demonstrations and civil unrest in Cairo organized by several organizations helped in instilling the sense of fearlessness into Gamal and other young nationalists in Alexandria. This period would prove to be the turning point in the young leader’s life and the struggle for the liberation of Egypt. Interaction with aggressive liberationists made him more vocal, elevating him from the status of the mere protestor to anti-colonialism rebellion mastermind. Due to concerns about his education, he was transferred to El-Nahda school in Cairo where he became a student leader.
While at school, Gamal made his first article “Voltaire, the Man of Freedom,” which, was published in the school magazine. Through such an initiative, Gamal is depicted not only as a liberationist but also as a scholar of his time. Gamal is remembered for his struggle for independence and re-enactment of the constitution as a young teenager, yet his efforts bore fruit in the 1935 constitutional re-installation by Royal Decree fuelling the nationalism struggle. Nasser was involved in door-to-door power-brokering, persuading rival leadership factions to unite for the cause of uniting the country. These unity crusades led to unanimous agreement among the political class hence the formation of the Egyptian Nationalist Movement in 1936 and the ratification of the Suez Canal treaty of 1936. As an aggressive nationalist, he networked getting into tabs with the Muslim Brotherhood and Young Egypt.
Military Life: His belief that freedom cannot be achieved from rhetorical speeches inspired his conscription into the military after completion of High school. In the military, he rubbed shoulders with re-known leaders including Anwar El-Sadat, Zakariya Mohie-Eldin, and Jabal Awliya’ (Barbara 412). His exploits in military assignments stirred different dimensions and strategies on how to organize the liberation struggle. Corruption and bootlicking were also rife in the military. The ouster of King Farouk on 4 February 1942 by the British would change the dimension of the struggle for independence. This awakened the military ranks in Egypt inspiring the free officer’s movement (Dr. Hoda ). The Second World War conscripted officers on returning home got inspired to join the liberation struggle.
Achievements: Nasser participated in training in nationalism struggle out of Egypt including the war in Palestine after consultations with the Palestine Mufti. He participated actively in the Israeli- Egypt war in Faluja that ended in 1949 after UN intervention. Gamal was pivotal in restructuring military confidentiality and operations strategy in the Egyptian army. As a lecture, he clandestinely organized free officers and novice recruits to fight and expel the British in the battle for the Suez Canal. Gamal was nominated Prime Minister in 1954, a position he served until an assassination attempt on him later the same year by the Muslim Brotherhood. He would later be elected president in 1956, a position he held until 1970. As president, he helped in streamlining the government that was micromanaged by the corrupt Muslim Brotherhood. He was a pioneer of nationalism movements in Africa and the Middle East. He is also remembered for founding the Non-Alignment Movement among other achievements
Gamel Abdel-Nasser is an embodiment of the impact and of young leadership. Through the struggle of leadership, an aggressive, restless individual is exposed. His life is like a puzzle; every move made is in preparation for bigger assignments for the future. Scholarly, militarized and politically polished, Gamal Nasser is an ideal representation of proper leadership in Africa and the world.
Barbara , Zollner . “The Muslim Brotherhood’s Internal Struggle During Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Persecution.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 39.3 (2007): 411- 433.
Dr. Hoda , Gamal Abdel-Nasser. President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Bibliotheca Alexandrina. <http://nasser.bibalex.org/Common/pictures01-%20sira_en.htm>.
Nasser, Munir K. ” Two Models of Press Management and Control.” Egyptian Mass Media Under Nasser and Sadat:. Vol. 124. Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, 1990.