Egypt in Transition

By Jean Lacouture; Simonne Lacouture et al. | Go to book overview

IV
Egypt Carries On

Those who have recently been expelled from Egypt, as well as travellers, friends and enemies, all agree that the Cairo streets have returned to normal and show little sign of the drama that has been enacted. Life has hardly slowed down. Many familiar faces have gone but the shops are as busy as ever: the saleswomen behind the counter merely ask anyone at all foreign-looking, 'And when will you be leaving Egypt?' Outside the Semiramis Hotel, which now challenges the new Shepheard's which has been rebuilt on the Nile bank, pretty women sit out on the terrace in the evening, risking a chill while they show off their bare shoulders. In the Sporting Club, tall, tough-looking fair-haired young men, clean-shaven and probably from the North-East, have merely replaced the fair-haired young men with moustaches who have gone back to the North-West. On the newspaper stalls the News of the Soviet Union is displayed, hiding such magazines as Confidential and Whisper. For the passer-by, the new era has replaced the glamour-girl by the tractor.

Ten piastres (about two shillings) for either the propaganda-sheet or the glossy is beyond the average poor Egyptian's pocket, in any case. His choice won't be determined by the Press, whether illustrated or not. The faces in the street show no sign of the gleaming happiness of July 1956, nor the feverishness of the following November. Yet there is no doubt that nationalization was extremely popular and that the whole régime was admired, obeyed and backed to the hilt when things were at their worst in the November, as the whole population's dignity at that time proved. But for a considerable part of Cairo's poorer classes, the wholesale departure of foreigners and of middleclass Jewry has been a blow to their purse. Porters, dry-cleaners and pressers, car-minders and artisans have lost their best customers, while the new 'gentlemen' of the Egyptian bourgeoisie, which is slowly taking over from the old cosmopolitan society, have not yet learnt how to spend.

But Westerners are too inclined to take only material factors into

-493-

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Egypt in Transition
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 5
  • Contents 7
  • Illustrations 8
  • Introduction - Egyptian Continuity And Revolutions 11
  • Part One - The Awakening of Egypt 37
  • I - The Advent of Bonaparte 39
  • II - Mohamed Ali Creates a State 50
  • III - The Cotton Boom 56
  • IV - A Revolution in Irrigation 60
  • V - The Adventurous Khedive 63
  • VI - The Arabi Revolt 69
  • VII - The Reformers 74
  • VIII - British Technocracy 78
  • IX - The 1919 Revolution 82
  • X - The Wafd 86
  • XI - Making the Best of War -- 1939 97
  • XII - The Burning of Cairo 105
  • Part Two - The Officers' Republic 123
  • I - A Short History of the 'Free Officers' Movement 125
  • II - Power -- to What Purpose? 160
  • III - Neguib's Fall 179
  • IV - The Structure of Nasser's State 192
  • V - The 'Diplomacy' of Small Nations 196
  • VI - The Political Parties 240
  • VII - Revolutionary Tendencies, 1952-57 275
  • VIII - Not a Real Revolution. 292
  • Part Three - Working Life in The Valley 307
  • I - The Land and Its Men 309
  • II - The Agrarian Reform 340
  • III - The Problem of Over-Population 357
  • IV - Economic Growing-Pains 362
  • V - Industrialization and Social Problems 367
  • VI - The Aswan Dam Problem 388
  • Part Four - Forging a Society 397
  • I - Cairo -- City of Convulsions 399
  • II - In Search of a National Culture 413
  • III - Egypt, Islam and the Modern World 430
  • Part Five - The Great Test 451
  • I - Nasser as He Really Is 453
  • II - The Suez Crisis 467
  • III - The Franco-British Invasion 481
  • IV - Egypt Carries On 493
  • V - The 'United Arab State' 505
  • A Chronology of Modern Egypt 515
  • Reading List 519
  • Index 523
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