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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

58                       THE EGYPTIAN  PROBLEM                CHAP.
individual foreigner against the violence of their myrmidons and the venality of their judges, they have been turned into very effective weapons in the hands of foreign Governments to hamper Egyptian legislation, even when its reasonableness cannot in principle be denied, whilst the less reputable members of the foreign communities have sought shelter behind them for dubious and often criminal practices which would otherwise have brought them within the reach of the Egyptian police.
The most serious restraints to which Egypt is subjected by the Capitulations are the following :—
First, no direct tax can be imposed on foreigners resident in Egypt without the consent of all the Capitulation Powers.
Secondly, all civil and commercial cases and all cases relating to land between foreigners and Egyptians, or between foreigners of the same or different nationalities, are tried by the Mxed Courts, which consist largely of foreign judges.
Thirdly, all criminal charges against foreigners, with a few exceptions which come within the jurisdiction of the Mixed Tribunals, are tried in the Consular Court of the defendant's own nationality.
Fourthly, no domiciliary visit can take place in the premises of a foreigner without the previous consent of his own Consular authority, and the Egyptian police cannot without such authority enter any foreigner's house, except in case of fire or of an unmistakable cry for help against violence.
Now what do these restraints mean in practice ? The first one means that whatever may be the needs of the Egyptian Treasury there cannot be any great broadening of the basis of taxation so long as a number of Powers have the right to veto the enforcement of any new direct taxes upon the foreign communities resident in Egypt, who not only form a very important and wealthy fraction of the population, but handle almost the whole of theive interests of the foreign communities against the arbitrary power of Oriental despots, and the life and property of the