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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

HO                    THE EGYPTIAN  PROBLEM                 CHAP.
off the coast and making their way through the surf to the beach, there to be hauled high up by teams of cheerful Egyptians working to whistle signal under their own officers." At times, particularly in 1917, hospital accommodation and medical treatment were terribly inadequate, but one must remember that Egyptians of the fellaheen class have not yet learnt to set much store by such matters, except when they are the actual sufferers, and the very great frequency of re-enlistments, which were certainly voluntary, shows that the Egyptian Labour Corps had few serious grievances at the front.
But what the fellaheen as a whole felt and remembered were the methods by which the Corps came to be ultimately recruited in their villages. They quite wrongly ascribed them to the direct orders of the British controlling power, whereas they were just the old methods of indigenous oppression revived by their own officials as soon as the vigilance of the British controlling power was relaxed. But because it was relaxed when it was most needed, we cannot repudiate our responsibility for what happened. When the war came to an end we had certainly clarified the situation in Egypt by proclaiming our Protectorate, but in other ways we had not by any means strengthened our position. Sultan Hussein's premature death had robbed us of the wise and loyal ruler whom we had been fortunate enough to have the opportunity of placing on the throne. Though we had freed Egypt from the last vestiges of Turkish domination, we had done nothing to secure the willing assent of the Egyptians to the new relationship into which we had forcibly brought them with the British Empire. Though we had poured vast amounts of money into the country and the war had ultimately brought unprecedented wealth and prosperity to Egypt as a whole, the people had suffered not only under the many restraints which are almost unavoidably incidental to a state of war, but also some grievous hardships which hit them all the harder in that we had begun by promising them completes of Alexandria, Port Said, Kantara, and Suez." In 1916, 10,463 men of the Egyptian Labour Corps,n depots and cotton markets to assis