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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

176
THE EGYPTIAN PROBLEM
CH. IX
revision of the treaties under which they are imposed upon Egypt, the Nationalists, rather than be indebted for this boon to the Protectorate, avowedly prefer to put up with restraints which are a far more effective bar to any real independence than the maintenance of Egypt's connection with the British Empire is likely to constitute. This is one of the paradoxes that illustrate the lack amongst Egyptians of any sense of perspective. They have abandoned to others the control of the great economic forces essential to the life of a modern nation. Yet they profess to believe that the mere formula of complete political independence will, as by the stroke of a magic wand, endow them with every organism required to assure the life of a nation., and though some of them may not have much love for us, and we have at times found them extremely unaccommodating, they have relied as much as our own people upon the maintenance of British control as the chief and, indeed, essential guarantee for their safety. They generally distrust the Egyptians, as many Englishmen do, and though they may be more inclined than we are to treat them with an outward show of easy familiarity, they betray at times a contempt and dislike for them which very few Englishmen entertain. If they criticise British methods of control it is not because they consider them too forceful, and if they believed there was any real prospect of our withdrawal from Egypt they, and probably their Governments, would protest vigorously against it as a gross betrayal of common European interests.