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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

PASSIVE  REBELLION
197
wirepullers. Picketing assumed the form of open intimidation. The wretched scavengers who wanted to resume work were driven off by these pickets, and convicts had to be mobilised who, under guard of British soldiers, swept the streets as best they knew. The postal sorters and distributors, also under threats from picketers, had to shut their doors and windows, and for a whole week no postman dared come out with a ,satchel. Tram-waymen, after fitful spells of strike and service, resumed their occupation escorted by British .soldiers. The extremists retorted by vitriol-throwing, which had been first used against strike-breakers on the railways. Several cases were reported on April 12th against both tramway-men and quiet shopkeepers who had refused to put up their shutters as a political demonstration ; eleven more on the 14th ; four more on the 15th. On the 16th a notice under martial law appeared stating that the penalty for vitriol-throwing was to be death. The notice was effective, and vitriol-throwing ceased. A force styling itself the National Police sprang into existence, ostensibly to help in the preservation of order, in reality to extend the operations of the terrorists. It had its own badge, its own officers, its own organisation, until General Allenby ordered its suppression under martial law. More difficult to reach was an undercurrent of agitation kept up by secret leaflets, lampoons, and unlicensed newspapers, published " without the authority of His Excellency the Censor," in which extravagant abuse, sometimes facetious and sometimes obscene, was lavished on the Sultan, the Ministers, the non-strikers, and all " traitors " in general, a term of opprobrium used to cover all law-abiding people.
The students and schoolboys were as deaf to the entreaties of many of their parents as to the admonitions of the Ministry of Education, and they continued to subordinate their love of work to the love of their country which required them to remain patriotically idle. Some of them were ripe for any mischief. Others were naivelyd into safer quarters both in Cairo and in Alexandria,