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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

x                             ACTIVE REBELLION                        179
which they incurred by their wild propaganda. For even if it did not advocate, it led straight to the excesses that were afterwards committed. Amongst the agitators they mobilised there were firebrands, uninspired by, and perhaps unknown to, the mass of the Nationalists, who did advocate and sometimes directed the perpetration of the direst outrages. Thus it came to pass that although according to the leaders there was to have been no looting, no molestation of Europeans, no destruction of property, and no interference with Government officials, " who are with us in spirit if not in deed,5' the tale became, nevertheless, one of murder, pillage, and arson, and of the paying off of old scores, whether against Europeans or Copts, or even fellow " patriots." The truth probably is that when the Party of Independence gave the word, everyone interpreted it according to his peculiar bent or passion.
For three days the demonstrations had been confined to Cairo. But on Wednesday, the 12th, the trouble had already spread. The fellaheen were beginning to take a hand in the business of tearing up railway and telegraph lines. There was rioting at Tanta, Damanhour, Zagazig, Mansura, Shebib el Kom and Menouf, but bloodshed only at Tanta, where the demonstrators tried to rush the railway station, which was guarded by a military picket. These opened fire, killing fourteen and wounding fifty. On the same day, as a result of a serious attempt which had been made to interrupt railway traffic, an armoured train was sent to Tanta and aeroplanes began scouring the Delta. An Order under Martial Law was posted on the walls and rained by aeroplanes all over the country, warning " all whom it may concern that any person who destroys, damages, or tampers in any way with railway, telegraph, and telephone communications, or who attempts to commit any of these acts, is liable under martial law to be shot."
In Alexandria, the population seemed lukewarm, and Wednesday passed with nothing but a noisy procession of students and schoolboys along the main streets of the
BT   2unities arehave 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