Postcolonial Time Disorder

Egypt and the Middle East, Stuck in the Past

Courtesy Reuters

Gamal Abdel Nasser pledged to thrust Egypt into the postcolonial time zone in 1952, when he wrested control of the government from the Egyptian monarch and the British Empire. As he wrote in his autobiographical essay, Egypt's Liberation, "The revolution marked the realization of a great hope felt by the people of Egypt since they began, in modern times, to think in terms of self-government and to demand that they have the final say in determining their own future." Unfortunately, almost 50 years later, Egyptians are still struggling to determine their own future. And now, with President Hosni Mubarak deposed, the aspirations of the people once again rest in the hands of the military.

Mubarak was just 24 years old when Nasser took power. He was part of a generation of leaders in the developing world who, like Nasser, came to view hegemonic nationalism as necessary and used the military to secure national

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