President Gamal Abdel Nasser in Al-Qobba Palace
First broadcast date
The former president talks about the challenges facing Egypt, the critical period ahead and the Arab nation’s unity then its impact on Egypt.
ERTU - Channel 1
Contemporary historical challenges 19th-20th c.
Credits / Cast
- Nasser Gamal Abdel - Participant
- Egypt - Lower Egypt - Cairo
President Gamal Abdel Nasser's speech at the Al-Qobba Palace – March 16th 1965
The speech Gamal Abdel Nasser gave on March 16th 1965 at the Al-Qobba Palace was serious and assured. The day before the Egyptian people had overwhelmingly elected him to lead their country, winning nearly 99% of the votes. At that point Nasser's popularity was at its height. A central figure of the Free Officers group which had seized power in July 1952, toppling the monarchy of King Farouk, Nasser had then rapidly sidelined Egypt's first president, Mohammed Naguib. From 1954 he was the real master of the country, and in 1956 he became the president. His policies called loudly, uncompromisingly for emancipation, not only political but economic and cultural as well, and this rapidly made Egypt the focal point for the rest of the Third World, then busily getting rid of its colonial masters. At home Nasser's policy was channelled into nationalising industry, farming reform and launching major projects such as the Aswan dam. Abroad he was one of the pillars of the non-aligned movement created in 1955 at the Bandung Conference and the hero of the Suez Crisis during which he had transformed a military defeat into a political victory. In the Arab world, despite the brief existence of Egypt's union with Syria (the ephemeral United Arab Republic between 1958 and 1961), he was the inspiration behind the nationalist pan-Arab movement – and from North Africa to the Middle East many other movements appeared, each claiming direct links with him. His was the model for an authoritarian state, violently suppressing any opposition, which became the norm across the region, from Algeria to Iraq; in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood and the Communist Party suffered most.
The speech he made on this March 16th 1965 could not have been more conventional. It was not at all the same pitch as in July 1956, when he had harangued the eager crowds. From a wide shot which shows him sitting in his presidential office, the frame tightens until the ra'is (president) fills the frame. A president whose presence seems to fill every corner, he saw himself as the incarnation of the state and of the whole people, whose courage he flatters and whose presence he wants constantly at his sides. In the speech he announces a decisive new milestone, although in reality many of the ideas were already part of the 1962 National Charter: Arab socialism, the social and emancipating side of the state, which was striving to build a more just society; nationalism, calling for vigilance against the imperial powers, re-affirming the inevitable need for Arab unity. Although Nasser refused to consider the election result was a blank cheque for him to do whatever he wanted, his firm, measured voice makes it plain he was not going to give the Egyptian people any choice other than total consent.
Al Dib Fathi, 1985, Abd El Nasser et la révolution algérienne, Paris, L’Harmattan.
Balta Paul et Rulleau Claudine, 1982, La vision nassérienne, Paris, Sindbad.
Cloarec Vincent, Laurens Henry, 2005, Le Moyen-Orient au xxe siècle, Paris, Armand Colin.
Lacouture Jean, 1971, Nasser, Paris, Editions du Seuil.