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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

IX
SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS
171
their own doors. Except within the narrow limits of good deeds prescribed by the Koran, which the old-fashioned orthodox Mahomedan considers himself bound to perform, the philanthropy which at home maintains hospitals, endows schools and colleges, promotes housing for the poor, etc., is almost unknown even amongst the Egyptian educated classes. We have our own slums and our wretched little waifs and strays at home that are still a blot on our social system. But one cannot walk about the streets of Cairo very long without being horrified at the crowds of children whom few Egyptians, until we shamed them into it, made any attempt to care for. It is pitiful to see them growing up in the most abject degradation and, with the precociousness of the East, drifting at an early age into criminal and vicious practices of which too many of them already bear the plainest marks. Only in recent times has the Egyptian ceased to leave it entirely to a few devoted foreigners, mostly missionaries and Roman Catholic religious orders, to do something to reclaim them.
The Nationalists may use official supineness as a text for belabouring the Government and British control behind it, but they seldom think, either individually or collectively, of putting their own hand to the plough. They may reasonably complain that we ought to have done more and better in such matters as education and public health, but one would listen to their complaints with more patience if they could point to anything they have done, or done better, themselves. Government schools have done little credit to us, but they are infinitely superior to the private schools started by Egyptians, who for the most part run them as sordid speculations. The Nationalists attribute to official disfavour the failure of the so-called Egyptian University to fulfil the high expectations of its well-meaning founders. But the real reason must be sought in the totally inadequate response made by the Egyptians themselves when they were asked to put their hands in their pockets, and if it still survives.ditions 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