Larger context for LACK in Corpus USbrown_UKbncw/UK_bncw.txt
The introduction of a more commercial economy into the country in the nineteenth century did little to change the basic social structure of the countryside.
Politically the life of the peasants was very parochial and dominated by the local headmen, the sheikhs and omdas, who served as collaborators of the state.
Their tasks included collecting taxes and when necessary producing labourers for public works on dams, canals or bridges; and enlisting the required numbers of men for the army who lacked the money to buy themselves out of national service.
Nasser maintained his memories of the peasants all his life and often referred to their plight before even he came to power.
It was the social and political change of the nineteenth and early twentieth century that was reflected both in Nasser's background and in his early political thinking and activity.
The making of a modern state provided new opportunities for peasants with some education to move into lower-middle-class occupations.
Nasser's father belonged to this growing social stratum, running a post office in Alexandria when Nasser was born and later being transferred to Khatatba, a poor village on the edge of the delta.
Coming from upper Egypt he was known as saidi, and as such seen by his countrymen in lower Egypt as a proud, rather prickly personality, with a strong sense of his own dignity: qualities which were inherited by his son.