Perhaps it is important to recall the words of Anwar el-Sadat, who, in 1972, said,
- Through a history of alternating victory and defeat, attainment and frustration, achievement and disappointment, Egypt formed an attitude and determination. This we must understand in order to comprehend Egypt today.
- When we assumed responsibility after the Egyptian Revolution in 1952 three principles were fixed as our main targets. They appear as Egypt's motto: Freedom, Socialism and Unity.
- The longing of Egypt to stay independent and free, to assure the development of all her resources for all her people under a regime of social justice, and to build her ties and cooperate with her Arab sisters, have thus been the guiding lines of her policy for reconstruction ever since the Revolution in 1952...
A summary of key articles on Egypt's past four decades is now available in a collection of Foreign Affairs articles on Egypt, including essays by Anwar el-Sadat, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, and Fouad Ajami.
In one of the country's best works of fiction, War in the Land of Egypt, Yusuf al-Qaid, a of current generation novelist, expresses his sense of opportunity and failure:
- Every generation has a particular fate, and our fate, we the sons of Egypt, is that our ambitions were greater than our possibilities. We stepped forward but we found no ground underneath us; we lifted our heads to touch the clouds and the sky disappeared from above us. And at the very moment we divined the truth of our time our leader [Nasser] deserted us with his death right when we needed him. Let us look carefully at our land and our country. It is a strange place, at once dangerous and safe, hard and accommodating, harmonious and full of envy, satiated and hungry.