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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

ACTIVE  REBELLION
183
dence Party and warned them very seriously that the " extraordinarily lenient " attitude of the military authorities could not last indefinitely, and that as the Committee had started the agitation he looked to them to stop it. Otherwise, drastic action would be necessary. The Committee's reply was characteristic. They declared that, much as they regretted it, they felt unable to allay the excitement, as the situation was now entirely beyond their control. However, they would do their best. Only they feared that, if they were to appeal to the agitators for moderation, these would turn on them. They may have been already alarmed at the consequences of the invitation they had themselves addressed to the nation " to display its feelings," but they were not prepared to jeopardise their popularity by publicly withdrawing the invitation. As soon as he reached Cairo, General Bulfin at once appealed again, not only to the Committee of the Party of Independence, but also to a gathering of notables, convoked by him for the purpose. He intimated that so far only defensive measures had been taken, but that it seemed necessary now to begin taking offensive measures which might entail considerable damage and loss of life. It was the duty, therefore, of every Egyptian to assist the authorities and to act in such a way as to avoid the bloodshed and suffering which would result from such measures. He concluded by solemnly declaring that he intended to do his duty and expected them to do theirs. His manner even more than his words made some impression, but it was some days yet—and the worst days—before the deeds with which he followed up his warning could take effect outside Cairo. Destruction went on wholesale of railways and telegraphs and telephones, of banks and offices, and farms and property in general. Provisional " republican governments " sprang up at Zifta and Zagazig and Mnieh, and even villages set up their own " Soviets." The most revolting story of this period of brutal mob law was that of which the small town of Beirut inthose that were armed fired. The soldiers replied, killing thirteen and wounding over thirty. At Kaliul on the same afternoon a British soldier was murdered.ition 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