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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

INTRODUCTORY                               ix
They contend that the Egyptians did actually govern themselves before the British occupation, and indeed better than they have been governed under British control, which, except possibly from the point of view of material prosperity, has, they affirm, arrested their national evolution. Nor is that all. They assert that Egypt won for herself under the great Mehemet AH from the Sultan of Turkey the recognition of an autonomy tantamount to-independence, and that the war, in which she contributed handsomely to the victory of the Allied Powers, having finally severed the last of the very shadowy ties that bound her to her Ottoman Suzerain, her former status of autonomy has become automatically and de jure one of complete national independence, of which, in accordance moreover with the principle of self-determination, she demands the immediate recognition by all and sundry, and above all by Great Britain.
Whilst I have, I think, shown in the following pages that the British Occupation certainly did not rob Egypt of a freedom and independence which she had never enjoyed, I have sought to describe in no hostile spirit the genesis of Egyptian Nationalism, and to discern the elements of Egyptian nationhood on which it has been built up. I have not shrunk from acknowledging our own share of responsibility for the dangerous deadlock into which we have drifted, and if I have recalled the solid benefits which the people of Egypt have derived from British control, however anomalous the conditions under which it was exercised, I have not attempted to minimise its partial failures and the gradual deterioration of its methods, or to deny the reality of many grievances which it is our duty to redress. We can hardly quarrel with the Egyptians for resenting the way in which the British Protectorate has been thrust upon them, or the clumsy and often heavy hand with which we ruled them during the war. They have a good case for a much larger and more effective share in the conduct of their public affairs, and for a progressive measure of self-government. Butach, it is not unreasonable that Egypt should