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Nasser (Life & Times)

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Nasser (Life & Times)

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Gamal Abdel-Nasser (1918-1970) was the father of modern, independent Egypt and an icon of Arab nationalism. Son of a post-office clerk, he studied law before joining the army. A regular protestor against British colonial rule, he was a key figure in the Free Officers revolutionary organization, which in 1952 staged a successful and largely bloodless coup against British rule. Nasser took control of the new regime two years later, declaring Egypt a socialist republic in 1956 and so placing himself on a collision course with the West. He emerged strengthened from the debacle of the Suez Crisis and always promoted himself as a defender of Arab interests. He oversaw extensive modernisation projects in Egypt, including the building of the Aswan dam, and pursued significant land and social reforms. His funeral, after his sudden death from a heart attack at the age of 52 provoked an overwhelming display of grief from ordinary Egyptians.

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