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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

!                         via                             INTRODUCTORY
1
!                     of vital importance to Great Britain when the invention
j                      of steam power enabled her to reopen the old maritime
i                      trade routes between Europe and the Orient through the
!                      Mediterranean and the Red Sea, and ultimately led to the
j                      making of the Suez Canal.    British intervention, there-
;                      upon became inevitable  as  soon  as  the  misrule  and
^                      financial profligacy of Mehemet Ali's successors plunged
Egypt into ruin and anarchy, and it was the greatness ,!                      as well as the imperfections of the work which England
f                     found herself impelled to undertake during an occupation
'.                     prolonged  far  beyond   her   original   expectations   that
produced  in the  shape  of   Egyptian  Nationalism  the ,:                     stirrings of that spirit of revolt against European ascen-
dancy which the impact of Western civilisation provokes sooner or later amongst all Oriental peoples.   As elsewhere it has set in motion forces, in part  progressive •                      and in part reactionary,  which  in  Egypt,  under  the
;                     particular impulse given to them by the war, have found
•j                     expression in a  skilfully  organised political  campaign
i                     against the maintenance of the British Protectorate as
well as in an explosive outburst of emotional patriotism, I                     never entirely free, in an Oriental and Mahomedan people,
;                     from racial and religious passion.
'                         At a time when self-government is recognised more
:            '         clearly than ever before to be the keystone of the British
'!                     Empire and has been set before the peoples of the greatest
i                      of our Oriental dependencies  as the goal which they
!                      also shall reach, it is not unreasonable that Egypt should
j                      claim something of the same boon as the corollary of
j                     the permanent association with the British Empire into
which we sought to force her during the war by the
proclamation of a British Protectorate.    Were that her
whole claim, few if any responsible Englishmen would
refuse to go a long way to satisfy it without questioning
too closely the actual fitness of the Egyptians to govern
'                      themselves.   But the Egyptian Nationalists, who have
:•••                     at least temporarily carried the bulk of their articulate
fellow-countrymen with them, go much further than that.