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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

94                     THE EGYPTIAN PBOBLEM                CHAP.
which we were already conceding to the Boers of the Transvaal who had only recently stood up in arms against us ? To fortify passionate appeals of that sort, Western education always provides the East with abundant arguments drawn from our own history and literature, and the usual reply, however well founded, that the East is not yet ripe for the boons for which it clamours, is too deeply wounding to its susceptibilities and self-confidence to be accepted as -adequate. Oriental impatience to assimilate the lessons of political independence which it learns from the West is seldom accompanied by a similar impatience to emancipate itself from the self-imposed trammels of social conditions and domestic institutions and religious beliefs far more fundamentally incompatible with Western ideas of liberty and progress. On the contrary, appeals based upon the right to enjoy the full benefits of admission to the higher plane of Western civilisation very often coincide with a parallel movement to conjure up memories of a more or less mythical past in order to rehabilitate Eastern civilisation and exalt it as at least potentially superior to the vaunted civilisation which has given the West for the time being a dominant position in the world.
This curiously illogical attitude was very marked amongst some of the most influential leaders of young Egyptian Nationalism. The new Nationalist movement claimed to be merely a revival of the movement which had actually originated in the fertile brain of the Khedive Ismail as a last desperate attempt to evade interference by the Powers with his methods of criminal profligacy, and had been afterwards developed by Arabi and directed by him in the first instance against the ascendancy in the Egyptian army and bureaucracy of the old Turkish caste, with the ruling Khedivial house as its foremost representative. The Nationalist movement of Arabi's time ultimately assumed to some extent a racial and religious character, anti-foreign and anti-Christian. But it never ceased to hate and distrust the Turk, even whenn enabled Egypt to offer to any further encroachments by Turkey and by the other Powers on Egyptian rights had to that extent strengthened her position as a separate, though still * good sense to set the example, became reconciled to it, and by the year 1906 Mixed Municipal Commissions, on which Egyptians and foreigners sat together, had been established in Mansourah and five other important s                        towns, the Central Government merely making certain