A large part of the catastrophe facing the Arabs today can be traced back to the Gamal Abdel Nasser experience, who formed one of the fiercest military regimes in Arab history. After his coup against the president who also came to power through a coup, Mohamed Naguib, Nasser established one of the darkest phases of totalitarian autocracy in the region, which spread to Libya, Algeria, Syria, Iraq and much of the Arab world to the east of Egypt.
Today, Nasserism and the slogans of the nationalist experience have turned into a thorn in the side of the Arab Spring, acting as a safety net for authoritarian and repressive Arab regimes. Today’s Arab nationalists are the worst enemies of Arab nationalism and the Arab project after the Arab Spring uprisings wiped off the make-up that hid their faces for decades.
Nasserism and false Arab nationalism have laid the foundations for Arab-Arab hostility. Who demonised our fellow Gulf Arabs other than the military mouthpieces and the Stalinist media led by Abdel Nasser? Isn’t the driving of wedges between the people of one nation, at the hands of nationalists, intrinsic to the Iranian and Zionist project in order to make it easier to consume the region and bite off its edges? Who other than Abdel Nasser and his army laid the foundations and culture of defeat? Who reinforced the culture of oppression and people’s worship of human beings other than Abdel Nasser and his minions?
The focus of my words here is not Abdel Nasser himself, as in his historical context he is considered the saviour, the inspiration, the immortal hero, the undisputed leader, the liberator of the people, the unifier of the Arabs, the resistor of global colonialism, and all the other false slogans and titles that founded the lie of resistance. These lies were promoted by the great media machine, which were the nucleus of the Arab tyrants’ regimes in the middle of the twentieth century.
The focus is not on the crimes committed by Abdel Nasser’s regime, which are no different to the crimes committed by Bashar Al-Assad today, Ben Ali’s crimes yesterday and Gaddafi’s brutal crimes the day before. These are crimes that reproduced the eternal leader’s positions towards the Communists, Islamists and even the true Arab nationalists who filled Abdel Nasser’s cells during his rule, felt the oppression and torture of his executioners, and faced the gallows.
The focus is not on the leader’s overlooking of Israeli spies who decorated his office through his daughter Mona’s husband, the spy Ashraf Marwan, or through his senior officers involved in corruption and espionage.
The focus here is not on the defeats suffered by the regime or the fact that this government started the phase of Arab defeat by turning the Egyptian army into a laughing stock at the hands of Zionist gangs, who were able to destroy Egypt and then the entire nation easily.
The focus is not on the magnitude of destruction left by the eternal leader in Egypt and the Arab world. He was a talented actor and eloquent speaker who stirred the emotions of the Arabs from the ocean to the Gulf through his resonant speeches and empty boastings enjoyed by the collective consciousness of the masses who were burdened with both defeats and helplessness.
The focus is not on the example and model of a tyrant and tyranny provided by Abdel Nasser which the Arab tyrants who succeeded him followed, through which they turned their countries into family farms that were the scenes of their delusional adventures, miserable escapades and psychological illnesses.
The focus is not on the military and political structure that was bequeathed to Egypt by Abdel Nasser, which has pushed the state today to a state of complete destruction, slow death and open bankruptcy. This structure has removed Egypt as a central and integral component in the civilisational struggle, despite its historical and demographic weight.
None of this is the focus of this article and thousands of pages would not be enough to evaluate and read the Nasserite experience in a bold and courageous manner that excludes the lies promoted and established by the bloody military regime’s mouthpieces, which hid behind a false nationalist mask. It also hid behind slogans of resistance, progressiveness and the struggle but, today, it has been exposed as one of the most backward, collusive and deadly regimes in modern history.
The focus here is actually the plagued intellectual legacy left behind by Abdel Nasser and the Nasserite experience. This school of thought has shifted from false tyrannical production to actions that destroy the current intellectual and civilisational phase.
Nasserism has moved from a political experience that could be criticised and the mistakes of which could be overcome, to become a pseudo-religious idea that turned Nasser into a god and eternal leader in the eyes of many Arabs. This makes him no different to the Bourguiba idol and Bourguibism, as his grave has become an elaborate shrine for worshippers, despite the fact that his people lived through the horrors of poverty, deprivation, retardation, death, unemployment and contempt.
The worshippers at the Nasserite alter most likely have genuine intentions regarding the experience, the man and their country. However, they are mistaken with regards to the historical context and the critical reading mechanisms that reveal the military crimes and the Nasserite crimes which are most clearly manifested by the coup leader Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and his massacres in the Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square.
What is even more dangerous than Gamal Abdel Nasser is the disease of delusion left behind by Nasserism. Regardless of the big lies promoted by him through empty slogans such as his “three noes” and his promises of throwing Israel into the sea and fighting backwardness and espionage, he threw Egypt into the sea of military defeats and historical setbacks and threw the Egyptian people into the throes of underdevelopment. He deprived them of the prosperity that they deserved like all other nations who established their glory during the 1950s. Instead, he put Egypt under Israel’s guardianship after his successive defeats and after allowing for military rule, thus turning Egypt and its leaders into a “strategic treasure” for Israel, as Zionist theorists still gloat.
Abdel Nasser left behind a military-fisted Egyptian regime that besieges the Palestinians and secures Israel’s borders more fiercely than the enemy itself. The military today is an economic cancer that funds the state from the pockets of the poor and uses every drop of the Egyptian people’s sweat. The Egyptian experience is what inspired the black military experience in Libya, which, in turn, inspired all the other bloody military experiences that involved handing over the country to the enemy by means of establishing underdevelopment, oppression, preventing prosperity and confiscating the right to political opposition, organisation and expression.
The Arabs will not prosper until they rid themselves of Nasserism, the legacy of Gamal Abdel Nasser and all the ideological baggage based on worshipping individuals. They will not prosper unless the shackles of history and the deposits of backwardness are removed and the realisation of human, Arab and Islamic values become a goal achieved by the unity of the people through hard work, patience, knowledge and mutual respect. To paraphrase the great Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (may the Almighty be pleased with him), to those who worship Gamal Abdel Nasser, I say that Abdel Nasser is dead, as others have died before and after him; but to whoever worships the Truth, I say that the Truth does not die.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.