On Monday, Egyptians commemorated the 60th anniversary of the 1952 Revolution. Some activists critical of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and its performance in Egypt’s transitional period have discouraged celebrating a holiday commemorating a revolution that entailed the roots of the Egyptian Military’s ascendance to political and economic dominance.
Earlier this week April 6 Youth Movement co-founder Ahmed Maher, tweeted “If anyone wants to go down on 23 July, it should be to call for the end of military rule, not to go down to celebrate the military junta and continuation of military rule.”
The April 6 Movement’s official stance on 23 July celebrations has been neutral, acknowledging a distinct separation from Nasser and the Free Officers movement and the current-day ruling SCAF.
Former presidential candidate and lawyer Khaled Ali tweeted on Monday that “The ‘52 Revolution had great achievements as it had unforgivable crimes, and the important thing is that we now complete the January 25 Revolution and fulfill its goals of ‘bread, freedom, and social justice.’”
On Sunday in a state TV-aired speech, President Mohamed Morsy acknowledged the 1952 Revolution’s unfulfilled goals in both democracy and social justice. President Morsy is a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was heavily persecuted as a group in the immediate aftermath of the 1952 Revolution. However the president maintained that 1952 provided a critical turning point in Egyptian history.
On Sunday, SCAF issued a statement via Facebook, declaring that slandering the military revolution was “delusional.” The statement was intended to remind Egyptians of the good the 1952 Revolution brought the country, including nationalization of the Suez Canal, the Aswan High Dam, infrastructure, and free education.
The statement also affirmed the Army’s role in siding with the people during the January 25 Revolutionand proclaimed that “despite all the campaigns of destruction and skepticism, the Armed Forces played a decisive role in maintaining the Egyptian state’s worst and most serious moments.”
The statement told detractors of the 1952 Revolution to look around at the water, electricity, and education provided by the state before slandering the past.
A number of political factions celebrated the revolution’s 60th anniversary in Tahrir Square after evening prayers. A documentary entitled “What do you know about the 60s?” presented by Huda Gamal Abdel Nasser, daughter of the late President, was screened at the celebrations. Political figures, including past presidential candidate and Nasserist Hamdeen Sabbahi, who visited Nasser’s grave earlier in the day, also planned on being in attendance.
Activists also planned on conducting a ceremony in Tahrir Square for Mina Danial, an activist who was killed in October 2011 at Maspero. The ceremony marked Danial’s 21st birthday, which would have been this past Sunday.
23 July is a national holiday in Egypt and commemorates the 1952 coup d’état, in which the Free Officers Movement unseated King Farouk and ended the British occupation of Egypt. The Movement included Mohamed Naguib, Gamal Abdel Nasser, and Anwar Al-Sadat, the first three presidents of the Arab Republic of Egypt. It also marks the beginning of an Egyptian military with strong influence over the country’s ruling institutions.