Syria and Egypt: fighting colonialism...
President Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein (Arabic: جمال عبد الناصر حسين 15 January 1918 – 28 September 1970) was the second President of Egypt from 1956 until his death. A colonel in the Egyptian army, Nasser led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 along with Muhammad Naguib, the first president, which 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 was keen to see Egypt free of any overtones of colonialism.
The most obvious source of a foreign power being dominant in Egypt was the British/French control of the Suez Canal. Completed in 1869, the canal was designed by Ferdinand de Lesseps. However the vast bulk of the physical labour required to build this engineering marvel was done by Egyptian nationals. Britain had a 40% holding in the company that ran the canal. However, despite the fact that the canal was on Egyptian ‘soil’, the benefits it brought the people of Egypt were minimal.
Under his leadership, Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal Company and came to play a central role in anti-imperialist efforts in the Arab World and Africa.
To support his beliefs, Nasser did what he could to restore national pride to all Arab nations – not just Egypt.
Many in the general Arab population still view Nasser as a symbol of Arab dignity and freedom.