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A New Edition of Gamal Abdel Nasser's Unfinished Novel Has Been Released

The novel had previously been a part of the school curriculum but was later removed by the president's successor.

Staff Writer

A New Edition of Gamal Abdel Nasser's Unfinished Novel Has Been Released

To commemorate his centenary, Al Kitab Al Youm Series is republishing an edition of Gamal's Abdel Nasser's unfinished novel "For the Sake of freedom", according to Ahram Online. As a student, the former president wrote five chapters of a novel which was centred around the circumstances of Egypt’s colonisation. The work - which he never finished - was a depiction of the 1807 British occupation of Egypt, towards which his opinion was made clear in documented accounts of his participation in demonstrations and protests as a youth.

Two years after his 1956 election to the president's office, the Supreme Council for the Welfare of Arts and Letters held a contest for the completion of Abdel Nasser’s book. For the new editon, Al Kitab Al Youm also decided to include the text from the first-prize winner of the competition – one of the 3 winners, out of 341 contestants - Lieutenant-Colonel Abdel-Rahim Haggag. The unfinished and influential book was uncovered in 1958 and used as propaganda by the Supreme Council for the Welfare of Arts and Letters, headed by Kamal El-Din Hussein. In 1959, Abdel Nasser who’d already been president for three years attended the party held in honour of the winners who had written the continuation of his unfinished work.

According to Ahram Online, there is a lot of documentation of Abdel Nasser’s involvement in the protests against British colonisation. His unfinished project was inspired by what he’d read in history books as a student, the events that stood out for him. Some of the incidents he details in the book are the invasion of Alexandria and the attempted takeover of Rosetta, the latter being of utmost importance as its seizing meant Egypt would've been an open target. He describes how the citizens of Rosetta fought back by pretending to have left the city, waited for their enemies to enter, and subsequently attacked them. According to historical resources, the resistance won and managed to defeat the invaders.

While the novel had been initially added to the school curriculum at the time, it was removed by Abdel Nasser's successor Anwar Saddat as it was deemed to be "historical bombast" and the transient opinions of a teenage boy.