A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Showing posts with label Muhammad Naguib. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Muhammad Naguib. Show all posts

Monday, June 2, 2014

Intissar Amer (Madame al-Sisi): First Lady or Invisible Consort? The Many Styles of Egypt's First Ladies

The photo above shows a rare appearance of then-Field Marshal Sisi in public with his wife, Intissar Amer. It dispelled rumors that she wears he full veil, but indications so far re that she will keep a low public profile when she becomes Egypt's First Lady. During the Presidencies of Anwar Sadat and Husni Mubarak, when the title "First Lady" was applied as a semi-official title and the incumbents had a highly-visible public profile. made the President's wife a public figure on he world stage, but not all of Egypt's first ladies have been as high-profile  as Jehan Sadat and Suzanne Mubarak.

Under the monarchy, of  course, the queens had a high public profile. Fuad I's Queen, Nazli, and Farouq's Queens, Farida and, after their divorce, Nariman, were given the public roles due to royalty on the European model. Of Middle Eastern monarchies, Egypt and Jordan gave their queens high levels of publicity and  public role, unlike Morocco or the Arab Gulf monarchies. But there has been considerable variation since the fall of the monarchy. Omitting transitional and interim figures:

Muhammad Naguib's wife, ‘A'isha Muhammad Labib, who was at least his second wife, played no real public role and remains little known. Some references even give her the first name ‘Aziza.

Nasser and Tahia's Wedding
Gamal ‘Abdel Nasser's wife had a more public role, though not nearly as visible as her two successors. Tahia Kazem, also called Tahia ‘Abdel Nasser,was the daughter of an Iranian father and Egyptian-Iranian mother. She was frequently photographed with her husband and children but did not have the high profile public role of her two successors.

During Nasser's Presidency
Tahia, who died in 1990, wrote a memoir of her life with Nasser which was not intended for publication. It was finally published in 2011 in Arabic, and last year in English. She thus joined, belatedly, Jehan Sadat in publishing her memoirs.

Jehan Sadat
Anwar Sadat's wife, Jehan, became the first Egyptian First Lady to play a major role in public, and to achieve international fame.in her own right. Jehan Safwat Ra'ouf, better known as Jehan El Sadat, married Sadat in 1949, shortly after his divorce from his first wife, Iqbal Mahdi, by whom he had three daughters. Jehan was the teenaged daughter of an Egyptian doctor and his British wife. (Many Egyptians believe that her mother was actually Maltese, but public documents show her mother was from Sheffield, as she asserts in her memoir. Some suggest the Maltese rumor may have originated when the Free Officers did not want to seem linked to the British occupation.) During the Sadat years the term First Lady (al-Sayyida al-Ula) began to be regularly, if unofficially, used. After Sadat's assassination, Jehan worked to keep his legacy alive, in part through the Anwar Sadat Chair at the University of Maryland. where she is a senior fellow.

Suzanne Mubarak
Husni Mubarak's wife. Suzanne Thabet, officially known as Suzanne Mubarak, is, like her predecessor, the daughter of an Egyptian doctor and a British mother, in her case a Welsh nurse. Like her predecessor she had a high profile, founded or was patron of schools and charities, and is believed to have been a strong supporter that her younger son Gamal should succeed his father. She was reported to be writing her memoirs before the Revolution broke out, and after the revolution Rose al-Youssef published what it claimed were excerpts, but many believe these, such as other leaks purporting to be her husbands memoirs, are a hoax.The source is highly dubious, to be generous.

Muhammad Morsi's wife, Nagla' ‘Ali Mahmoud, was a striking departure from her two fashionable predecessors. She wore the hijab, flatly refused to be called First Lady (saying she preferred "Umm Ahmad"), but she did give occasional interviews and discuss her role.

Which brings us to Madame Sisi, Intissar Amer. Sisi has said that they met in secondary school and he married her on graduation from the Military Academy in 1977. She is said to dislike public appearances and has not pursued a career, preferring to raise her family. She does not dress as conservatively as rumors speculated, but modestly, at least based on that one photo, but from what is known of her she is likelier to follow the Tahia Nasser model than the Jehan Sadat or Suzanne Mubarak one.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Egyptian Army in Politics, 2: 1952 and All That


I'm on vacation. As I've done in recent years, I've prepared a number of posts on topics of historical and cultural interest ahead of time, posts unlikely to be overtaken by events. There will be one or more of these per day, and I may drop in to comment on current developments as required.
 "The Army Carries Out a Peaceful Military Movement."
"Dismissal of a Number of Senior Officers and Protection if Public Faciilities."

My survey of the Egyptian Army in Politics began with my July 12 post on Colonel Urabi's revolt in 1881-1882.

In the ensuing 70 years the Army was rarely directly involved in politics, given the presence of British troops in Egypt as a counterbalance. There were some military plots during the Second World War, and military dissatisfaction with King Farouq began to build after the defeat in the 1948 First Palestine War/Israeli War of Independence.

Sixty-one years ago today, all that changed. A group of dissatisfied officers, mostly colonels and lower but including General Muhammad Naguib, seized power, deposed the King, and the following year declared a republic.

The Free Officers (1st row: Nasser, Naguib, Abdel Hakim Amer, Sadat)
In many ways all of Egyptian history since July 23, 1952 (labeled a "Revolution" after the fact) grew from the events of that day. With the exception of the one year from last July to this one, the Army has directly or indirectly been the primary source of legitimacy in Egypt ever since. With the Army now back in power it will be interesting to see how July 23, still Egypt's national day, is officially marked.

I have posted so often about 1952 that there is little new to add. You can read my posts from July of 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012, as well as all my posts tagged Naguib, Nasser, or Sadat, since all three of Republican Egypt's first three Presidents were senior figures in the original Free Officers.

The coup itself was a classic one and became a model for the Arab military regimes of the 1950s and 1960s, with other countries' officers even adopting the name Free Officers and/or calling their junta a Revolutionary Command Council. After the Army's not-a-coup-really on July 3, the Denver Post posted a collection of photos of the preludes to the coup (including Black Saturday) and the coup itself, including some of the same photos I posted last Friday.

Naguib and Nasser
Although Muhammad Naguib was the ostensible leader of the coup and became first Prime Minister and then, after the proclamation of the republic, Egypt's first President, he was soon eclipsed by his Prime Minister, Gamal Abdel Nasser, and finally deposed by him; Naguib remained a nonperson until the Sadat years, but has been somewhat rehabilitated since.

Nasser became a symbol for the Arab world, first as the man who ended the British role in Egypt and then, in 1956, resisted the triple invasion of the British and French colonial powers plus Israel. Until his image received a setback in 1967 Nasser was enormously popular.
Naguib Outflanked
Nasser's socialist reforms were less successful and his introduction of a national security state that became the model of the mukhabarat republics that dominated the Arab world for years casts a shadow on his memory, but he still as many admirers.

The third President from the Free Officers, Anwar Sadat, has also had a mixed legacy. Having lived in Egypt for two of the eleven years of his Presidency, I can attest to the shifts in his image through the years. At first seen as very much in Nasser's shadow, the 1973 war made him a hero. His 1977 trip to Israel and subsequent peace treaty was much less popular, and led to Egypt's ostracism from the Arab world. By 1981 he had become increasingly repressive, and his funeral after his assassination that year was attended mainly by foreign dignitaries with most Egyptians excluded, a sharp contrast to the millions who turned out for Nasser's. Yet now, more than 30 years later, Sadat is increasingly popular in retrospect and often referred to as a martyred President.

Egypt's fourth President, Husni Mubarak, was too junior to have been in the Free Officers (he graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1950), but he was very much a product of its legacy. Of Egypt's leaders since 1952, only Muhammad Morsi had no links to it. The Free Officers were forged in the 1948 war with Israel and led Egypt during the 1956, 1967, War of Attrition and 1973 wars. (By contrast, the current military chief, Gen. Sisi, is the first modern Egyptian military chief with no combat experience, being commissioned in 1977.)

So 1952, whether seen as a coup or a revolution, has dominated Egypt ever since.

Two videos, both in Arabic (though the first is probably self-explanatory, showing scenes of the coup; the second is Naguib addressing the country after the coup:



Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday Nostalgia: 1952 was DEFINITELY a Coup

For your Friday nostalgia photos: Since people are arguing about whether or not July 3 in Egypt was a coup, can we at least agree that July 23, 1952, whether you also consider it a "Reviolution" or not, was indeed a pretty classic coup? (More on 1952 next Tuesday, the 61st anniversary.) Anwar Sadat took the radio station (though he was late for the Revolution as he'd been at the movies) and there were tanks at Abdin Palace. Yes, that was definitely a coup. (This time they just seized the Radio-TV building and the tanks were surrounding Ittihadiyya Palace. Totally a different thing.)



Friday, February 15, 2013

Muhammad Naguib and His Dog, in the Former President's Last Days

Naguib as President
We've talked before about Egypt's first President, Muhammad Naguib; after Gamal Abdel Nasser supplanted him in 1954 he became a nonperson, under house arrest for years; though he was allowed to re-emerge under Anwar Sadat, though he remained in obscurity while Sadat was President. After Mubarak came to power in 1981, he emerged more publicly, publishing a memoir in 1984, the year he died. Today he is honored as the least authoritarian of Egypt's first four Presidents, and a Metro subway station was named for him, though a local one,while Nasser, Sadat, and Mubarak got major hub stations. (Mubarak station is now called Martyrs' station.) Above is a photo I hadn't seen of Naguib in old age, with his dog.

I knew there was something I liked about Naguib. He's a dog guy.


Monday, August 20, 2012

A Lost World: Egypt's President Celebrates Jewish New Year in 1953

Via the nostalgia site Antika, a photo from September 10, 1953: Egyptian President Muhammad Naguib celebrates Rosh Hashona at the Adly Street synagogue in Cairo.

Does anyone know if this has happened since? Did it continue until the exodus of much of the Jewish population in 1956 (and if so, did Nasser go)? Did Sadat after his Jerusalem trip? Or was this the last time?

I may be going out on a limb here, but I'm guessing it's not on Morsi's calendar.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Further Notes on the 60th Anniversary of July 23,1952

A couple of addenda to my earlier comments on the 60th anniversary of Egypt's 1952:
  
Ahram Online has a lengthy excerpt from the memoir of the last surviving Free Officer, Khaled Mohieddin. (Though the caption on their photo of the Free Officers actually identifies his recently deceased cousin, Zakaria Mohieddin.) On his and Nasser's secret dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood:
I continued to read the books brought to me by Usman Fawzi and I constantly demanded that there be a clear programme for the Brotherhood, defining its national objectives and its position and demands of the various social categories. In my arguments, I began to lean to the left and I became the odd man out in a group supposedly affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood.
In a final effort, Hasan El-Banna sought to link us with the Brotherhood via a strong bond. He decided that Nasser and I should join the Brotherhood's Secret Division. Perhaps it was because we were the most active and effective in our group and, consequently, winning us over completely would mean ultimately winning over the whole group.
Or perhaps it was because we talked much about the nation and nationalism and therefore he believed that by having us join the Secret Division, which was concerned with weaponry and armed action, he would be satisfying our patriotic enthusiasm and ensuring closer ties with the Brotherhood.
Anyway, we were contacted by Salah Khalifa, who took the two of us to a house in Darb Al-Ahmar toward Sayyida Zaynab. There we met Abd El-Rahman El-Sanadi, head of the Brotherhood's Secret Division at the time.
We were taken into a totally darkened room where we heard a voice (I think it was that of Saleh Ashmawi) and, placing our hands on the Quran and a gun and repeating after the voice, we took an oath of obedience and total allegiance, for better or worse, to the Grandmaster, swearing by the Book of God and the Sunna (traditions) of the Prophet. Although these rites were meant to stir the emotions, they had very little impact on Nasser and myself.
In any case, we began to work in the Secret Division and we were taken for training at a place near Helwan. Since we were officers, it was only natural that we were more knowledgeable about weapons than our training instructors. Nasser was not too happy with the situation and we felt alienated from the Brotherhood.
Also, Al-Ahram's front page the next day; "The Army Carries Out a Peaceful Military Movement":

It was 60 Years Ago Today ... What is the Legacy of July 23, 1952?

Nasser, Naguib and Salah Salem
Anwar Sadat went to the movies, not knowing that his co-conspirators had moved up the schedule, and almost missed the revolution. But once he caught up, as the senior Signals Corps officer among the plotters, he read communique number one:
To the People of Egypt:

Egypt has passed through a critical period in her recent history characterized by bribery, mischief, and the absence of governmental stability. All of these were factors that had a large influence on the army. Those who accepted bribes and were thus influenced caused our defeat in the Palestine War. As for the period following the war, the mischief-making elements have been assisting one another, and traitors have been commanding the army. They appointed a commander who is either ignorant or corrupt. Egypt has reached the point, therefore, of having no army to defend it. Accordingly, we have undertaken to clean ourselves up and have appointed to command us men from within the army whom we trust in their ability, their character, and their patriotism. It is certain that all Egypt will meet this news with enthusiasm and will welcome it.
For 59 years, anyone speaking of "the Egyptian Revolution" meant the coup of July 23, 1952. It was the thawra, though there were always a few who said that it was merely a coup (inqilab). If the events of January 25-February 11, 2011 had not occurred, today's 60th anniversary of 1952 would no doubt be a huge celebration. But another, more popular revolution has occurred. (Whether it has been reversed or cancelled out by SCAF and the Muslim Brotherhood is, of course, a subject for debate.)

This is the fourth July 23 since I started this blog and the second since the fall of Husni Mubarak, but because it is the 60th anniversary it has itself become something of a political football.

This year, the Ahmad Maher Faction of the 6 April Youth Movement (whatever you think of the current bunch of revolutionaries, they know how to name their factions like real revolutionaries) has called on Egyptians to boycott celebrating July 23.  This has already provoked counterstrikes from supporters of the 1952 revolution: SCAF on its Facebook page called such comments "delusional," defended the military's role in 1952 and today, and "asserted the 1952 revolution wasn’t only for Egypt but for the whole African, Arab and Asian world."  Meanwhile, a group of "Nasserists" in Qena governorate also defended 1952 and "asserted that military rule didn’t begin with Gamal Abdel Nasser but had always been a feature of Egyptian political life since the time of Ramses II."

Ramses II? But then, remember: the two pillars of Pharaoh's power were his Army and the high priesthood. Is that so different from SCAF and the Muslim Brotherhood? Well, yes, probably.

But no one can argue that the 1952 revolution has had a major impact across the Arab world, though that was not evident immediately. When the Free Officers first took over they forced the King to abdicate but didn't even proclaim a republic until the following year, so that infant King Ahmad Fuad II, though in exile with his father, was nominally reigning through a regency council. The coup was not the first military coup in the modern Arab world (Bakr Sidqi in Iraq and Husni Zaim in Syria had gotten there previously), and at first it named a civilian Prime Minister. It as later, after Nasser supplanted Naguib and began social and economic reforms and nationalizations, that it began to look a bit more like a revolution. Nasser had enormous flaws, but no other Arab leader has enjoyed the prestige he did across the rest of the Arab world. We've talked a lot about Nasser and Naguib in this blog, and I refer you to the archives rather than repeat myself.

For two generations July 23 has been Egypt's national day.Already January 25 is a contender for the title. Like so much else in this turbulent era, it will take some time for this generation of revolutionaries (Islamist as well as secular) to come to terms with that earlier "revolution" six decades ago today.

Two videos (both in Arabic), one with clips of the first revolutionary era, and the second Muhammad Naguib's own initial broadcast:



Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Tribute to Muhammad Naguib

Longtime readers know I have done my best to remind people of Egypt's largely forgotten first President, Muhammad Naguib. He spent much of his life as a nonperson, only emerging in ailing old age under Mubarak,who attended his funeral. On the Cairo Metro, Nasser, Sadat, and the former Mubarak (now Martyrs') Stations were major hubs on the first line; Naguib eventually got a local stop on the second line.

This photo tribute to Naguib was posted on Bassem Sabry's "An Arab Citizen" blog last year, but I only just was directed to it. It's a great collection, including this memorable one, above left, of Naguib in old age:

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Next-to-Last Free Officer: Zakaria Mohieddin, 1918-2012

Zakaria Mohieddin, one of the original Free Officers of 1952 and onetime Vice President of Egypt, Prime Minister, and intelligence chief under Gamal Abdel Nasser, has died today at the age of 94. With his passing, only one of the original Free Officers from the original Revolution Command Council survives: his first cousin, Khaled Mohieddin. (In this 2010 post about Khaled I mistakenly declared him the last, under the mistaken impression — derived from the Internet — that Zakaria had died in 2009. I acknowledge the error, which is now no longer erroneous, since Khaled is now indeed the last.)

Mohieddin, left front; Nasser center at corner of table; Naguib in hat; Anwar Sadat left rear
Zakaria Mohieddin always was a presence, if a somewhat unassuming one, in the Nasser era, often used for diplomatic missions. As a young officer he served with Naguib and Nasser at Faluja in Palestine in 1958k, and became an early member of the Free Officers. While his cousin Khaled was the Revolution Command Council's most leftwing member, Zakaria was often seen as pro-Western. He was the first head of Egypt's General Intelligence Directorate when Nasser set it up in the early 1950s, but it did not become the feared instrument of Nasser's security state until under later directors. He served as Vice President from 1961-68, and Nasser was about to dispatch him to the United Nations to try to avert war when the 1967 war broke out with the Israeli pre-emptive strike. When Nasser offered to resign after the defeat he named Mohieddin his successor, but of course the crowds, and Mohieddin, refused to accept Nasser's resignation. He was also Prime Minister in 1965-66. He quit public life in 1968, and had remained in obscurity; his last public appearance seems to have been in 2002 on the 50th Anniversary of the 1952 Revolution.

SCAF paid tribute to an earlier ruling junta with Field Marshal Tantawi, Chief of Staff Gen. Enan, and other members of SCAF participating in his funeral today. 

With his passing, the only survivor of the original Revolution Command Council is Zakaria's first cousin Khaled, who is nearly 90. The last vestiges of the Nasser era are passing from scene.

Friday, July 22, 2011

July 23 Plus 59 Years

It is already past midnight in Egypt and the country's traditional National Day, July 23. This year the bank holiday will be the 24th, but the Army and other institutions will mark the 59th anniversary of the 1952 coup.

A lot of the younger revolutionaries have already expressed their intent to switch the National Day to January 25, when the uprising began, seeing it as more of a Revolution than the military coup 59 years ago, before they were born. It is probably worth remembering, though, that the coup looked revolutionary enough at first, before the enthusiasm of the first moment became calcified into the authoritarian dictatorship that endured so long. And obviously, the January 25 revolution is at best incomplete, and at worst could produce another long period of undemocratic rule.

On earlier July 23rds since I began this blog, I have reflected on the legacy of the Free Officers (in 2009), and of Muhammad Naguib (last year); and on the 40th anniversary of Nasser's death I reflected on the very mixed legacies of the man.

This year, though, I think Egyptians should be looking forward, recognizing how easily the initial enthusiasms of that "revolution" were twisted into a dictatorship, and hoping for better results this time.

Perhaps next year, National Day will be on January 25. Or, perhaps it won't. The story is still unfinished.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What Will Egypt Do This July 23?

I know this blog has been Egypt-heavy lately but I make no apologies, since major things have been happening in the Arab World's largest country. But amidst all the Egyptian news I've been scanning, I haven't seen much mention of one thing: Saturday is July 23, Egypt's National Day.

This is the third year of this blog. In my first year, I of course reflected on the mixed legacies of the Free Officers' July 23, 1952 coup, or Revolution as it is called, and in my second year, I did one of my historical posts on Egypt's forgotten first President, Muhammad Naguib. Do read them both if you haven't.

But when anyone says "Revolution" today in Egypt the date that comes to mind is not July 23, but January 25. Yet at the same time, Egypt is still ruled by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, and the Army sees July 23, 1952 as its finest hour. And since this year, July 23 will fall on Saturday while Friday is the day for intensified protests in the continuing Revolution, it will be interesting to see how the protesters and the Army commemorate National Day.

Monday, December 20, 2010

And Now, a Word from the Last of the Free Officers

A blast from the past for Egypt hands. As far as I am aware, every single one of the original Free Officers who overthrew the Egyptian monarchy on July 23, 1952, installing Naguib and then Nasser, has died, since the deaths of Hussein al-Shafi‘i in 2005 and Zakariyya Mohieddin in 2009, save one alone who survives to tell us: Khaled Mohieddin, the "Red Major" to his colleagues because he was to the left of most of them, founder and longtime head of the Tagammu‘ Party (the Progressive Socialist Rally), now retired and 88 years old. (More on his Arabic Wikipedia page for those who can read it.) This video for Al-Masry al-Youm, with subtitles in English, is of a pre-election interview (November 4) with Mohieddin. It may be one of our last looks at the old guard of the Revolution, and at one of them who really wanted a real revolution.



There's nothing revolutionary here in what the old revolutionary has to say (except implied praise of Israel as a democracy), but not long ago I found myself wondering if he was in fact, still alive. When he goes the last of the Free Officers are gone. He stayed in Parliament until 2005, when he was defeated by a Muslim Brother (the symbolism is obvious: old lefty replaced by Islamist, except that after the latest election the Tagammu‘ is the biggest opposition in Parliament). He did not write his memoirs until 1992 (in Arabic; translated 1995 into English but not now listed at AUC Press as far as I can tell). Even then the memoirs basically go through the Revolution and stop. I've seen the Arabic but haven't read it all, and don't have the English version.

Last man standing. A nostalgic way to start the week.

Friday, July 23, 2010

For July 23: Remembering Egypt's First President

Does anyone immediately recognize (if you haven't read the title) the elderly gentleman at the right, photographed in his last year of life, aged 83? (Scanned from the memoir published in the year he died; hence the page crease.) The year was 1984, and aspects of his life were indeed Orwellian: for decades he was an "unperson."

Today is July 23, the anniversary of Egypt's 1952 Revolution, and Egypt's National Day. One of the difficulties with being in my second year of blogging is that when a major date comes along like today, I have to think of something different from what I did last year, when I reflected on the 1952 Revolution, since all I have to do is hot link to that for you to reread my thoughts, and have just done so. So for this year's July 23 post, let's remember the Revolution's nearly forgotten man, Egypt's first President.

Line 1 of the Cairo Metro, the first one to open, has stations named Nasser, Sadat, and Mubarak. It wasn't until Line 2 came along that Egypt's first President, Muhammad Naguib, got his station, shown at left. Naguib tends to be the forgotten President, in part at least because he endured that Orwellian "unperson" status for most of the 1950s and 1960s, and really only re-emerged in public awareness in the last years of his life, between Sadat's death in 1981 and Naguib's own in 1984.

In the early days of the Revolution, however, Naguib was the visible face, as seen by his appearance on the cover of Time — in that era, the sign that a foreign ruler had made it into the big leagues, like the cover of Rolling Stone would later be for musicians — for September 8, 1952 (below right). And the cover story, entitled "Egypt: A Good Man" showed that Time, at least, liked him far better than it would ever like Nasser:
Naguib is a "strong man"—but he neither looks nor acts the part. He lives in a modest suburban house with his wife and three young sons, earns $4,000 a year, smokes cheap Toscani tobacco and drives a tiny German Opel on which he still owes three or four payments. Quiet and self-effacing, a better listener than he is a talker, he exudes an old-fashioned courtesy that echoes the prose of the Koran. How did this mild-mannered man lead a revolution in a land where corruption, disease, glaring wealth and bitter poverty are as old and as familiar as the Pyramids?
"Old fashioned courtesy that echoes the prose of the Koran?" "As old and familiar as the Pyramids." Ah, Time in Henry Luce's day certainly had its recognizable style.

Gamal Abdel Nasser was in the wings all along, but Naguib certainly thought he was more than a figurehead in his years in power.

He had become something of a celebrity in Egypt during the Palestine War/War of Israeli Independence in 1948 when he (and his subordinate Gamal Abdel Nasser) were cut off by Israelis in the "Falluja Pocket" but avoided surrendering, the only slightly bright spot in an otherwise dismal performance by the Egyptian Army.

Since Naguib's fellow Free Officers ended up writing most of the history, he is usually portrayed as having been chosen as a figurehead, with Nasser holding the real reins of the Revolution from the beginning. But Nasser and the other Free Officers were young majors and colonels, and Naguib a well-known Major General and critic of the King's Men in the military. Naguib led the Free Officers to victory in elections to the Army Officers' Club in early 1952, provoking the King to cancel the results and the Free Officers to move up their coup, which they had planned for several years later.

So Naguib became the visible face of the Revolution. Here is his first broadcast (Arabic):




Naguib became the head of the new Revolution Command Council (RCC) but did not officially take a political office at first; former Prime Minister Ali Maher was named Prime Minister. The Free Officers became frustrated with Maher and in September Naguib made himself Prime Minister. (Egypt was still, as most people forget, a monarchy; Farouq had abdicated in favor of his son Ahmad Fuad II, an infant who was in exile but theoretically reigned through a regency council. Egypt's last King is still alive, as I noted last year complete with pictures.)

Naguib remained Prime Minister and then, on June 18, 1953, proclaimed Egypt a republic (with himself as President and Prime Minister and Nasser as Deputy Prime Minister); he remained the most visible figure. But increasingly, one notices Nasser in the photos (in the picture below right, Naguib talks to Nasser and Salah Salem). (Don't Nasser's eyes look dominating?) Still, in the surviving clips from the era, Naguib seems the mature, pipe-smoking, avuncular leader (left).

Increasingly, though, the ambitious Nasser, who had been the real creator of the Free Officers (except in some of Anwar Sadat's late rewritings of his memoirs, when he tried to take credit) began accumulating the real authority, in lieu of Naguib. Finally, in February 1954 the rivalry between Naguib and Nasser became open; the Free Officers sought to replace Naguib but he regained power, though Nasser was given the title of Prime Minister and increasingly made all the decisions. Naguib failed to regain real authority and finally in November 1954 he resigned the Presidency as well.

Nasser confined Naguib to a comfortable villa but under close house arrest; as the narratives of the Revolution emerged, he was portrayed more and more as a figurehead from the beginning, though it seems clear he did not understand things that way.

Muhammad Naguib began his decades of unperson-hood, sequestered in his villa. Anwar Sadat eased the house arrest but he remained out of public view. After Sadat's 1981 assassination, with most of the original Free Officers now out of government, Naguib was allowed to emerge from obscurity, give interviews, and write his memoirs. When he died in 1984 he was given a military funeral and Husni Mubarak attended. Such items as the naming of a Metro station for him (as an afterthought after Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak stations, however, and Sadat and Mubarak are major hubs while his is a local stop) indicate that nearly 60 years after that Time cover, Egypt has finally rehabilitated its first President, even if he is still largely forgotten in a country where much of the population has grown to adulthood under a single President, Husni Mubarak, who seems to be immortal. (The Presidencies of Naguib, Nasser, and Sadat combined, 1953-1981, total about one year less than Mubarak's rule — thus far.)

Finally, a tribute on YouTube to "The First President and the First Victim." The soundtrack is Arabic music but you don't need to understand Arabic as it's just a stream of still photos.