Choice of Texts

Michel Aflak

On Egypt


The conclusion, which I want you to reach, is that the conditions for the coup d’etat in Egypt are different from those in Syria. The coup d’etat that took place in Egypt had reasonable justifications. The Arab arena being vacant, the people turned to the military, which executed the coup d’etat. The military has faithfully and earnestly performed some undeniable reforms. But could it be said that the existing regime in Egypt is that of overthrow?
The answer is no. This rule could be called progressive and no more. The difference between an overthrow and a coup d’etat is the following:
The overthrow is the organised struggle of the people based on theory and doctrine. It aims at reversing the public conditions entirely and from the roots, and replacing them with new and healthy conditions. The overthrow is a change in the foundations of the life of the nation.
It is axiomatic that change cannot take place with the army but through the struggle of the people itself. The army may participate with the people but all alone it is incapable of achieving the overthrow in the meaning understood by our party.
As for progressivism, it is reform and not a change in the foundations. It is a reformation of some aspects of the public life with the preservation of the old foundations, not because of a concern for these but because of incapacity to alter them
(On the situation in Egypt 5 January 21 1956)

We could describe progressivism, brethren, as middle way between the reaction now prevailing in parts of the Arab homeland and the real overthrow with is at the stage of growth and development. As the road to overthrow is long, there are always possibilities for the emergence of progressive endeavors. These endeavors are of two kinds: true and false. The true is what has taken place in Egypt. The false is that which has taken place in Syria.
(On the situation in Egypt, 5 January 21, 1956)

With the exception of the deep historic impact which the battle of Palestine made on it and on other regions of the Arab homeland, the new Arab orientation in Egypt did not come to it from others as much as it sprang from within and from the core of the Arab people, as soon as the two obstacles to it collapsed: the obstacle of imperialism and that of oppression and reaction. It then was in possession of the healthy conditions to regain its spontaneity and come to rediscover its genuine Arabic personality.
(The revolutionary nature of the Arab cause, 2 April 25, 1956)

The tragedy of Palestine, although not expected in exactly the way it happened or at the time in which it took place, was a tangible proof of the doctrine of unity, liberty and socialism and the existence of a fertile soil for its diffusion and realization. The greatest consequence of that tragedy was that Egypt broke through the walls of isolationism and regional deviation in a historic leap, which has linked its destiny to that of the Arab nation in a conscious and creative way.
(The features of Arab unity in the federation of Egypt and Syria, 2- June 1, 1956)

Egypt, whether in her resistance to imperialist pacts in the name of the interest of the Arabs as a whole, her adoption of positive neutrality also in the name of the interest of all the Arabs, and in her steadfast and persistent attitude towards the Zionist menace and the offered bargains and settlements to her has stood firm, knowing the danger Israel presents to the entire Arab existence. She stood equally firm during the Suez Canal crisis and by so doing she paved the way for all the Arab regions to challenge imperialism and rid themselves from its fetters, its companies, its exploitation, etc.
Those stands were not taken by Egypt as Egypt, not as part of the Arab homeland, but as a delegate of the Arab nation, being the biggest Arab region with tremendous potential and having the conditions for education, production and awareness. With all these, she has become capable of restoring her control over her destiny and has cleansed her society. Consequently she has become competent to speak in the name of all the Arabs.
(The Arab struggle facing imperialism and Israel, 5 -October, 1956)

When such a historic action is accomplished in the history of a nation, when the Arab idea interacts with a region, which is the biggest Arab region but was hope. Less some five years ago, when this coup d’etat and this tremendous power that were passive, are transformed into a positive power at the service of the Arab nations, what response should this region get from us?
All individuals of the Arab nation are responsible today for their future for the future of the Arab nation... and its history. Will the doctrine of interaction with Egypt, the biggest and greatest region, take roots? Can we live up to the expectations of those regions in us? Can we prove that Arabism (Uruba) is a reality, a fact and action, work and Jihad? Otherwise, we will relapse and go downwards, in which case the Egyptian coup d’etat will remain hanging in mid-air, exposed to a variety of retrogressions and become shallow. It would then be stricken by apostasy and relapse. If we take this battle imposed on us by imperialism but which, in some aspects, we have imposed on imperialism, if we look at it in this perspective, should we not find it imperative to increase our cohesion, whether with Egypt or Algeria or any other region?
(The Arab struggle facing imperialism and Israel, 5 -October, 1956)

I look at the battle with this perspective: we are required, first and foremost, to save the future. Saving the future is giving the present its due consideration. We have to perform our task—in the present—without taking profit and loss into account. This is especially the responsibility of Syria, although I do not differentiate between one region and another, as I consider all these division ephemeral, but up to now Syria has been considered by the ether regions, particularly Egypt, as the cradle of the Arab idea and which in spite of her small size and the limitations of her potentialities, has struggled more than others. This idea, this call, has found here a fertile soil from which it has spread to other regions. I felt this myself especially in Egypt where, as I told you, Syria has a revered place. Its name works like magic in their hearts. They say and admit that they had been educated by Syria the correct nationalist ideology and the nationalist and progressive orientation.
(The Arab struggle facing imperialism and Israel, 5 -October, 1956)

Egypt is withstanding an attack of the standard of modern wars, with all its cruelty and gravity. A few years ago Egypt was shaken or it appeared to be shaken, because of the corrupt conditions prevailing there, by the struggle taking the form of demonstrations, with their partial and negligible sacrifices. Egypt herself, a few years later, is bearing what big countries bore in the last war and in the great wars. Egypt is fighting the battle with faith, determination and bravery.
(The battle and the will of the nation, 5 - November 4, 1956)

The Egyptian leadership knows that every Baathist is at their disposal. It has no greater trust in any group than in this party. It remains to you to take the spirit of initiative and organize yourselves. When you are incapable of providing certain things, the leadership is to do its duty in this respect: —Arms, for example, are to be supplied by the government.
Make lists of your requirements and the government will give us the Arms, if some persons remain unarmed, they are to do other work or may look for arms from sources other than the government.
If it is not possible for us to go to Egypt, the battle is not only there. There is a scope for action and struggle in Palestine, for example, within the army, and with the Fedayeens and guerrillas.
(The battle and the will of the nation, 5 - November 4, 1956)

The question today is not whether we will win or lose, confronted by an undeniably powerful enemy, though we believe that the potential of the Arab nation is capable of securing victory for us in the battle. But the question is that we should be loyal to our ideals and the unity of our destiny. No Arab ignores that this battle waged and led by Egypt is in the first place that of Arab unity. Arab unity for the Arabs is not merely the deployment of forces and the fortification of power and strength—as with some other people—but it is a crystalline unity through which can be seen all the sufferings and negative experiences the Arabs have undergone all longing for right and liberty and their thirst for construction and cooperation.
(The battle of one destiny, 2 - November 25, 1956)

We now see the rust being removed and the truth emerge shining, when Egypt has taken her natural course to Arabism (Uruba) after being misguided for long. She has lifted the greatest weight from the Arab struggle movement. While many people and old politicians consider this a miracle beyond explanation, we believed that it would inevitably and surely come and that the reality of the Arab Egypt would one day emerge.
(The ambition of the Baath, I - March 1957)

Thus we see that unity leads to revolution as revolution leads to unity. The historic revolution of Egypt did not have a precondition that she would know from the outset that her fate would be the realization of Arab unity. But the essential precondition was secure for it and that it was a true and genuine revolution, and her loyalty to herself and to her genuineness has led her to her real destiny, through precise logic and infallible inspiration.
(The revolution of Algeria and the revolution of Unity, 2 -April 4, 1958)

We consider Egypt of grave importance and weight as well as having tremendous potential for every Arab struggle, especially the struggle of unity. In spite of our categorical rejection of any propaganda claiming to make Egypt and her people alien to Arabism (Uruba) we consider that the conscious groups must make a profound and open criticism of all the factors and residues, which help create this general weakness in the Arab consciousness in Egypt. These groups must also urge the Arab people in Egypt to make use of the potential of Egypt for the participation in the building of the Arab nation in a healthy way instead of using this for regional purpose.
(The relapse into secession, 2 - February 1962)


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