Videos of recent Arab history have become popular recently. One that is garnering huge numbers of views in Egypt chronicles the day King Farouk I, then 18, ascended to the throne of Egypt in 1936. Nearly 16 years later, he was overthrown in the July 1952 military coup and forced to abdicate to his infant son, Fouad II. A year later, Egypt became a republic.
The video is posted on “the King Farouk’s official page” on Facebook. The page has over four million likes and the video has over 90,000 views—signs that could be taken to mean a longing for a monarchy many Egyptians never knew.
There is a sense among fans of monarchism that the authoritarian system that replaced it did little to match what had been achieved by Farouk and his predecessors of the Mohammed Ali dynasty (1805-1953).
Mohamed Ali, an Ottoman officer of Albanian origin was, with his sons, credited with catapulting Egypt into modernity with the building of schools, irrigation projects, infrastructure, a national army and the Suez Canal.
Nearly 64 years after its fall, the Mohamed Ali dynasty is still revered, in some quarters.
"This footage does not get broadcast to the public so that people don't compare between the royal era and the age of the republic. May God have mercy on King Farouk I, who was unfairly judged," Ahmed Elzayat wrote.
Quite a few were impressed by the monarch's unguarded carriage and couldn't help but make a comparison with the country's heavily guarded modern presidents.
"He is moving in the midst of people, unlike our presidents who travel around in armoured vehicles in long motorcades in empty streets," wrote Amro Magdi.