The Boss: The Story of Gamal Abdel Nasser

The Boss: The Story of Gamal Abdel Nasser

The Boss: The Story of Gamal Abdel Nasser

The Boss: The Story of Gamal Abdel Nasser


A message from the control tower at Port Said reported that the temperature in the city was already over a hundred in the shade, although it still was only midmorning. As they approached the ground it almost seemed possible to see the heat rising in shimmering waves to envelop the plane.

The instant the door was opened the inside temperature went up twenty or thirty degrees. But this was no time for thinking of physical discomfort. Today Egyptians were celebrating the final defeat of colonialism, after twenty-three centuries of occupation and exploitation. Today here at Port Said they were going to show the world how they felt about the departure of the last Britisher from their soil.

The first man out of the plane was a tall, broad-shouldered army officer with a crescent-shaped scar in the center of his forehead, a close- trimmed mustache, and black hair that curled tightly to his head. He smiled as he waved his right hand to the throng that had come to the airport to greet him.

"Long live Gamal Abdel Nasser!" they shouted as soon as they recognized him.

Today would not soon be forgotten by this man with the insignia of a lieutenant colonel on his uniform. He had dreamed of such a celebration as this for thirty years, since he first became infected as a small boy with the contagion of Egyptian nationalism. In his imagination all these years he had never doubted that the leader who would bring about the departure of the last foreigner would be named Gamal Abdel Nasser.

It seemed to take hours to go the short distance from the airport to the center of the city. The population of Port Said was less than two hundred thousand, but people had poured in from all over Lower Egypt until the streets were now solid masses of humanity. Policemen swung their clubs trying to clear a way for the car. Men in long robes called galabiyas ignored physical danger as they fought with each other to get close enough to touch him. Some even persisted in trying to kiss him.

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