World: Nasser's Legacy: Hope and instability

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certain that watching Israelis understood, they intermittently switched to Hebrew, "Nasser lo yamut." At the compound enclosing Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, where Mohammed is supposed to have ascended to heaven, mourning Arabs were only a few yards away from Jews gathered at the Wailing Wall for Rosh Hashana prayers marking the start of the Hebrew year 5731. Among the Israeli worshipers was the old antagonist who had twice helped humble Nasser on the battlefield, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan.

It was in Cairo, the capital of Nasser's own country, that anguish over his death reached its peak. All week long, the lower-class fellahin poured into the city. They came on foot or riding donkeys, aboard bicycles or cars or ancient trucks, clinging precariously to the roofs and sides of trains rolling into the city's Central Station. Like members of some giant caravan at rest, they camped all over Cairo. They watched the comings and goings at the Kubbeh Republican Palace, where dignitaries made solemn calls. They wept at the new Nasr Mosque in the suburb of Manshiet al Bakri, where laborers silently dug a five-foot crypt.

Finally came the moment for which the caravan had gathered. Flying low over the Nile, four Soviet-built helicopters landed beside a palace on Gezira Island, the original headquarters of Nasser's Revolutionary Command Council. From the lead copter, a flag-draped coffin was unloaded and strapped to a gun carriage pulled by six black horses. A funeral cortege formed, with a troop of lance-bearing cavalrymen leading the way. Six military bands, the morning sun glinting richly off their brass, struck up the melancholy strains of Chopin's Funeral March. Twenty-seven visiting chiefs of state, eleven Prime Ministers and 22 other foreign delegates assembled behind the gun carriage. The first rounds of a 101-gun sa lute reverberated across the city. At least 5,000,000 people had turned out for the funeral; Cairo in its thousand and one years had never seen such a spectacle. The mourners waited on the bank of the Nile, 200 deep in some places; they hung from trees and lampposts and fragile scaffolds, and they pressed against a wall of police 14 men thick. "There is no God but Allah, and Nasser is God's beloved," they chanted. "Nasser is not dead. Each of us is Nasser."

Facing Mecca The gun carriage had hardly gone 15 yards onto El Tahrir Bridge when the crowd swept from the Nile's banks to engulf it. The dignitaries behind it were supposed to march nearly a mile to the headquarters of the Arab Socialist Union and there make way for a "popular funeral," in which the common people would escort Nasser's body to the burial mosque. The officials could scarcely move at all. Police tried un successfully to beat back the crowds with braided whips and bamboo sticks.

Lancers on horseback found themselves hemmed in by hordes of peasants wearing the loose-fitting robes called galabias. It took 45 minutes for the cortege to move 100 yards. French Premier Jacques Chaban-Delmas fought to maintain his balance and at the same time save diminutive (5 ft. 2 in.) Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia from being trampled. Security men decided that the scene was unsafe and urged the official mourners to leave. Dour Soviet Premier Aleksei Kosygin was whisked away to the Soviet embassy. Jordan's King

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