(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Children's Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

170
THE EGYPTIAN PROBLEM
CHAP,
that the one branch of administration with which foi obvious reasons British control has always been reluctant to interfere, viz., the Wakf, has remained a sink of corruption. Yet it is the one which, in its capacity of trustee for a vast number of estates placed by bequest undei the protection of Mahomedan " Pious Foundations/3 should of all others distinguish itself by its integrity. But if the Egyptian has still to learn to assert his rights as freely in his relations with his own rulers as with us, he knows that, whether as a landowner, or a lawyer, or a doctor, the lawful fruits of his labour are far more secure to him than they ever were before. From us too he has learnt, for good and evil, the value of political organisation. Even his wildest political aspirations are the outcome of this new spirit of self-reliance which we have ourselves helped to breed in him, and, had we not sat so long on the safety-valves, it would perhaps have asserted itself with less explosive violence. Though he expresses his opinions with unaccustomed freedom, one rarely heard at first of a case in which his politics affected his personal relations with, and even his liking for, individual Englishmen, though in this respect also there has been latterly a marked change for the worse.
What he has yet to acquire is a sense of social duty. There are plenty of Egyptians ready to denounce the seamy side of Western civilisation, but few who care to apply its better lessons to the grave evils from which Egyptian society suffers. They admit the terrible obstacles which some of their domestic institutions and ancient superstitions oppose to all real progress, but they too often admit them with a mere shrug of the shoulders, reserving all their energy for their political activities. It is rare to find amongst wealthy Egyptians any sort of practical interest in the welfare of their less fortunate fellow-countrymen. Of the large landowners, even amongst those who dwell on their estates and look after them in person, few do anything to improve the miserable conditions in which the fellaheen live aters, and the woman's holdhave gone far to remove the sense of bitterness. After all the Syrian expedition would have been scarcely feasible without Egyptian labour and Egyptian supplies, and some expression of gratitude would not have marred its glory. But the saving word was never spoken ; and the payments due from the military authorities continued to lag for months behind, and the ugly past                    towns, the Central Government merely making certain