Which revolution best represents Egypt’s National Day?

A National Day should mark an event that is a source of pride for a country’s entire society, not a politically divisive one. In the past decades, Egyptians went through a number of revolutions that aimed to improve their lives, but the minimal benefits these revolutions realized are outweighed by the undesired economic and political impact they have had! Our revolutions can be easily described as occasions when a segment of society revolted against the ruling regime – leaving the country torn in two.

July 23 was designated as Egypt’s National Day after a group of Egyptian army officers revolted against the monarchy and transformed Egypt into a republic, in 1952. A few years later, acquiescing to the revolution’s demand, the British ended their occupation of Egypt. Our most famous revolution, which resulted in the ousting of former President Mubarak, took place on 25 January 2011, followed shortly by another revolution wherein Egyptians toppled former President Morsi on 30 June 2013.

Whereas the controversial outcomes of all Egyptian revolutions have polarized our society, the Six of October War united all Egyptians in the service of a specific, successful, mission that was further strengthened by the signing of a peace agreement with our former enemy, Israel. It marks our successful management of an inspirational well-planned event that enhanced our dignity and self-esteem, placing the Six of October War as the greatest achievement in our history by far; a historical turning point that qualifies to be designated as Egypt’s National Day.

At that time, the entire Egyptian population was more than happy to sacrifice their lives for the sole purpose of liberating our national territory. All Arab and Islamic nations steadfastly backed Egypt in the Six of October War; by sending troops to the battlefield, offering substantial financial funds and even by instating an oil embargo to pressure western nations biased towards Israel. It was a truly triumphant event for Egyptians and for the entire Arab and Islamic worlds.

Most renowned political scientists have never unanimously acknowledged any of our revolutions per se; they label them as either a “massive uprising” or a “military coup”.  However, because revolutionary claims provide Egyptians with a sense of achievement, our State officially acknowledges these revolutions – but leaves Egyptian society living with intense political disputes amidst a clear deterioration of the political and economic spheres that resulted from these revolutions. Furthermore, Egypt is no longer governed by the 1952 constitution – completely new constitutions were adopted in the wake of subsequent revolutions.

The National Days of a number of nations fall in the month of July, beginning with Canada Day that celebrates the effective date of that country’s Constitution Act, which united the three separate colonies of the Province of Canada on the July 1, 1867. The United States’ Independence Day, on 4 July, marks the day in 1776 on which it declared its independence from the British Empire. This leaves us with the National Day of France, the Bastille Day; a turning point for the French people who celebrate their unity achieved on 14 July 1790.

Today, Egypt is worth less politically and economically than it was prior to 23 July 1952. Many politicians claim that our engagement in a number of regional wars and the substantial increase of our population are the main causes for this decline. However, our engagement in war was a purely political stance stemming from our regional ambitions and the inability to tackle our population growth problem is a consequence of our governments’ faulty policies.

The July 23rd event is a historic event that will always be a source of pleasure to a segment of Egyptian society – and its effectiveness will continue to be the subject of consistent debate. In contrast, the Six of October War is an indisputable event that brought happiness, dignity and unity to the entire Egyptian population and to the Arab and Islamic worlds where Egypt plays a leading role. Let history settle all the debates about our revolutions; October 6 clearly deserves to be acknowledged as our National Day.

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