The World: Sadat: The Village Elder

Even as a youth, Egypt's Anwar Sadat, 58, had an elevated sense of his own destiny. At 14, he fell into an irrigation canal near his home village of Mit Abu el Kom. Saved from drowning, he was asked what his last thought had been as he went under the water. The answer: "If I drown, Egypt will have lost Anwar Sadat."

Today, Sadat governs Egypt rather like the paternalistic elder of a maxi-village, which just happens to have 39 million people in it. Once regarded as an impetuous, dandified mediocrity, he has become more cautious since he succeeded Gamal Abdel...

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