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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

ACTIVE REBELLION
185
several landowners, a barrister, three policemen, besides students and fellaheen. The final sentences were announced on the 9th. There were originally fifty-one sentences of death, but of these seventeen were commuted, and also six more on the intercession of the Prime Minister, who was then Mohamed Said.
Whilst the Europeans in Beni-Suef were relieved on the 18th, disturbances continued to spread with alarming rapidity all over Upper Egypt. Minieh, Assiut, and the town of Fayum were each threatened by large numbers of Beduin reported to be advancing from the west, to whom General Bulfin addressed a separate and very peremptory warning. At Minieh, all the British residents had to take refuge in a house, where they were beleaguered for several days, but poorly armed, and in serious danger, especially when the arrival of the Beirut train with its ghastly cargo of British corpses stirred the passions of the populace. But the immediate danger was averted by the courageous intervention of an Egyptian doctor, Mahmud Bey Abdel Razek. He was himself a member of the revolutionary committee in the town, and was ultimately condemned to three years' penal sevitude, though he would seem to have deserved more lenient treatment, for it was he who stopped a dangerous rush at the most critical moment. All communications with Cairo had, however, been cut, the Mudir had lost all authority, and power was in the hands of a "Provisional Government." The only security was provided by a company of Egyptian infantry, who fortunately remained staunch, and though there was a great deal of looting, especially in the Coptic quarter, a relief boat arrived on the 22nd and removed all European residents to Cairo.
At Assiut matters were also very serious. There was the same outbreak of looting, the same outrages on Copts. and the same threat of a Beduin invasion. British, American, and other European residents were concentrated in one building, which was almost too extensive to defend with the small force available, namely, 100
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•I"k part in these outrages a mere village rabble. A large number of arrests were made in connection with the murders, and eighty-five accused persons ultimately tried at Assiut included the Omdeh, or village headman, two schoolmasters,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