Courtesy Reuters

Where Egypt Stands

Through a history of alternating victory and defeat, attainment and frustration, achievement and disappointment, Egypt formed an attitude and determination. This we must understand in order to comprehend Egypt today.

When we assumed responsibility after the Egyptian Revolution in 1952 three principles were fixed as our main targets. They appear as Egypt's motto: Freedom, Socialism and Unity. In Arabic, however, the words invoke for us meanings that can hardly be fully translated into English, word for word.

Freedom, for a country that has been coveted by almost every would-be empire-builder, means first ridding itself of foreign military rule. Four years after the Revolution, but 74 years after the British landed in our country, the last of the British troops departed from Egypt. During the 74 years of occupation, we were ruled as part of a political-military bloc. Our economic, social and cultural life, as well as our political and military attitudes, were directed to serve the interests of the British Empire. Although we had all the legal, political and moral arguments on our side in our struggle against the occupation, these arguments could do very little to dislodge the British, who made their presence secure by preventing Egypt from building any effective military force.

Freedom, regained, meant for us first a determination to keep away from all the political-military blocs. Secondly, it meant dedicated effort to strengthen the legal, political and moral forces in the world. Lastly, it meant that we should acquire and build our military defenses.

Staying out of blocs was not only the natural course for emergent Egypt. We considered it an attitude that should be adopted by all member-states of the newly organized United Nations. How could the Tribunal of Nations carry out its grave responsibilities if its members were to gang up in permanent blocs? How could matters of international justice, matters of peace and war, be judged on their own merits? "Nonalignment" came to be the word to indicate this attitude. The initial reaction of superpowers to nonalignment

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