Egypt and American Foreign Assistance 1952-1956: Hopes Dashed
No one, however, worried much about the end of Egyptian democracy.
Egypt and American Foreign Assistance 1952–1956
Jon Alterman's book tells the story of the American economic aid program better than anyone has to date. The cards are stacked in his favor.
He is a careful researcher and good writer. He wrote the dissertation on which the book is based under the supervision of the leading historian of the modern Egyptian political economy. Alterman tells the history—most of it anyway—from "on the ground" as Egyptian and American officials planned and implemented various projects for land reclamation, small-scale agricultural industries, and other projects under the then-popular rubric of "community development. Most other histories of U. Because Alterman takes a much different tack, the archives that he mined for his research have not been used much by others.
Although authoritarianism is still going strong in Egypt, Alterman was granted access to some declassified Egyptian Foreign Ministry archives for the first time, a privilege denied to others. The fact of access is significant, the gains accruing from it much less so. The basic argument is a familiar one for those who have read histories of other places and moments. Alterman claims that most historians who tackle the U. They have overemphasized military and geopolitical Cold War factors, and their accounts are too deterministic about the conflicting interests and priorities of Nasser and the Eisenhower administration, implying that any chance of a productive alliance was more or less doomed.
At the same time two beggars wonder and question why they are not included in the commerce of the exhibition. An Egyptian middle class family at the fair right ; 2. The urban poor left out center ; 3. The Egyptian businessmen who profited from the war economy and whose companies were exhibited as part of national modernity left.
The statue of nationalist figure Saad Zaghloul erected in is at the bottom right of the image, from there to the left is Nile Valley Street with its pavilions representing Egyptian provinces. The house was designed to regulate peasant domestic space in a standardized form. The design allowed for separate spaces for living and sleeping, and raising animals. The design also included a walled garden for raising poultry, and a separate bathroom as well as a source of clean drinking water.
This explains the emphasis on qawmiyya , or national, in reference to the organizers and the industries presented. The exhibition was a microcosm of the Egypt as imagined by the business elite for the consumption of the local bourgeoisie. The exhibition took place during a time of increased economic nationalism. Other classes such as the urban and rural poor and the workers were largely unaccounted for in the representational spaces of the exhibit.
After the exhibitions were paired with the annual celebrations marking the so-called Revolution, taking place in , , and The exhibition was delayed and canceled due to the Tripartite Aggression. However, the exhibition returned in and was attended by half a million visitors. The exhibition, discussed below, was the largest and most visited to date. While the ideological driving force behind the exhibitions was nearly the same after as it was before it, Nasser-era exhibitions were presented as if they were uniquely revolutionary spaces of modernity unlinked from pre displays and exhibitions.
It is difficult to understand post exhibition culture without studying the exhibition, above.
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Rather than represent the provinces in the capital with caricatured pavilions, the provinces became sites for representing the nation. Furthermore, the Industrial and Agricultural exhibitions continued through to the s and utilized similar techniques of representing the relationship between the national center, and the nationalized economy, to the provinces. An exhibition hall and market for the products of Gharbiyya province built along the Cairo-Alexandria road.
However, many of the self-proclaiming revolutionary regime approaches to governance and industrialization continued monarchical era approaches. For example, similar to the display of the model peasant house, a similar concept was publicized in by the new regime as part of Egyptian-American cooperation for rural development. Stylistically the modern peasant village and the published images of its inhabitants share an uncanny resemblance with the Zionist kibbutzim, perhaps a result of the socialist inspiration to both nationalist projects of creating agricultural collective communities.
Instead, a village manager, a government trained employee specialized in agriculture and social development, ran the village. A doctor, a teacher and a farming consultant assisted the manager of the village. However, in addition to developing agriculture and related industries, such as textiles, new industries were sponsored by the state that ranged from heavy industries such as steel and cement to other forms of production such as household items.
Commerce, given a nationalist framework, was key to the production of national modernity after Nasser-era exhibitions were accessible to a larger segment of the population aiming to make middle class culture and consumption accessible to a greater number of urban dwellers. State-owned companies making household items for the modern Egyptian dwelling such as radios, television sets and refrigerators displayed their goods.
Demonstrations were held at the exhibitions to showcase the products and to convince Egyptians to purchase them to support the national economy but also to become members of modern society. Nine foreign exhibitions were held in Gezira between and Industrial trade exhibitions were a global phenomenon central to building political alliances. The Federal Republic of Germany FRG displays were set up in the exhibition grounds on Gezira Island just months after the Soviet Union completed its own industrial exhibition at the same location.
The architecture was relatively modest with the focus less on architectural symbolism and more on the content of exhibitions and displays. In this case architecture occupied a secondary position within the wider visual and spatial structure of these East and West German exhibitions.
The main attractions were displays of industry, technology and the cultural programing provided by the two competing states, each aiming to convince the Egyptian public that life is better in the GDR or the FRG, respectively. It included museum displays and models celebrating grand projects undertaken by the regime, such as the High Dam. Bank Misr built a grand hall fronted by a monumental gate composed of nine meter tall arches. The national radio also put on a show with an entire recording studio reconstructed on the site for visitors to watch live recordings as they happened.
While the exhibition was the largest of its kind, it can only be understood as a larger than life version combining elements of all the previous displays since the inception of the first national exhibition in Let us visit the larger exhibition to take place on Gezira in 70 years, it only cost a quarter million pounds to build, but do not think of the old exhibitions, remove their images from your mind. Many new buildings were erected and many old ones removed, everything in the exhibition has changed.
Jon B. Hagen's Documents
That is, during thirty years of exhibition making, aesthetics and formal expressions changed but the basic mission of the exhibition as a national event creating an image of progress and prosperity, remained unchanged. A thin horizontal plane supported by pilotis intersected the lower part of the gate. Inside the grounds, two main buildings housed the exhibitions; a bridge supported by a series of arches connected the two halls named the Palace of Peace and the Palace of Arab Unity. Advertising by the construction company that implemented the gate of the National Exhibition.
The writer of the article, identified only with the initials N. In order to confirm the similarity, the author cites a published image of the Brussels building in the 29 May issue of the British publication Architects Journal. Do national and international exhibitions serve as venues for not only the trade and exchange of goods and industries but also architectural designs and ideas? This instance of architectural plagiarism sheds light on how by the s architectural representations of the national and the international merged into a synonymous idiom.
And is it suitable for the gate of an international exhibition to be mimicked for another exhibition? The controversy over the exhibition gate is telling of several issues, on the one hand exhibitions had become a prominent part of public life and the architectural profession. On the other hand, architects paid close attention to how their counterparts in other national contexts represented national progress and industry.
Finally, architects, such as Karim and Nassar, were critical of the designs built by contractors such as Harawi, who, in their opinion, at best mimicked architecture from elsewhere and lacked innovation. The exhibition ground was thus not only a terrain for the display of national modernity but also a contentious stage for the display of architectural knowhow and expertise.
Jon B. Alterman - SourceWatch
The expo was the first major event of its kind since the end of the Second World War. However, this time in a post-war world fraught with political tensions international exhibitions attracted serious criticism. Its architecture utilized the same language of pavilions of countries in a wide spectrum of locations with a variety of political orders. The rectilinear volume of the pavilion building appeared similar, even redundant, to others such as the Czechoslovak pavilion. The ground floor was maintained open with a water feature in the center of the atrium space.
Tapered columns lifted the exhibition spaces above. The exterior was encased in glass. The architecture of the Arab pavilion in Brussels extrapolated the already prevalent use of international style modernist design by individual national regimes, such as in Egypt, to a regional level. Decorative features and folkloric references were nearly eliminated from the architecture and replaced by unifying structural articulations, straight lines, white walls and floating stairs. Pan Arabism, as represented in , fully embraced the architecture of internationalism.
The fair, after all, was an opportunity for visibility, education, and propaganda. The International style already adopted for the Expo was maintained in with the return of historic and folkloric elements to complement the modernist exterior and nationalist symbolism. The resulting pavilion was designed to represent a modern nation with an ancient history.
Architecturally this translates into a modernism that was universal and technocratic, which transforms high modernism into an administrative practice.
I would also argue that middling architectural modernism by virtue of its efficiency and accessibility is an architecture that becomes part of the visual culture of the middle class particularly in contexts such as Egypt where the state and its architects utilize this architecture for projects that range from apartment houses to government buildings and social welfare projects.
The eagle of Saladin, the emblem of the republic, and the tri-colored flag were the symbols of the revolutionary Egyptian state. This struggling crisis sits only catalyzed to understand the preparing tribes of shifts, languages, iOS number and Changing it the the native diversity for depending digits to browser. As the 5ArcticThe piranha for original narratives, ImageQuest has observational for northern sections, all.
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