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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

198                    THE EGYPTIAN PROBLEM                CHAP.
convinced that they were making history. An English teacher who remonstrated with one of Ms best pupils was solemnly asked by him in a phrase that had evidently been carefully rehearsed: " But really do you not think our Egyptian revolution is more glorious than that of France ? " The members of the Egyptian Bar took equally little notice of a Proclamation issued under Martial Law dispensing with the presence of advocates and empowering the Courts to determine all matters within ! i                       their jurisdiction and to raise of their own motion a
I !                       legal plea benefiting any party ;    while any party to the
j                         suit,   criminal or otherwise,  could be   represented   by
[I                          any person appointed   for   the   purpose.     Under   that
1                         Proclamation  the   Law Courts were enabled in theory
jj                          at least to resume work, but the lawyers knew how to
ii                          make it in practice a dead letter.
I                             Most extraordinary of all was the pretext seized upon
|                          by the malcontents amongst the Government officials
I                          to carry the doubters with them and bring off the strike
if                          which they not  unnaturally regarded as their tramp-
i!                          card.    News reached Cairo of a statement made by Lord
|J                          Ciirzon in the  House  of Lords  that   " one gratifying
feature of these deplorable occurrences in Egypt has been
the behaviour of many of the Egyptian officials and of
the army and police.    These last have behaved especially
ii                           well."   This  statement  was  in  accordance  with  fact,
fj                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           *
1                           and was if anything an  understatement.    The Special
Committee of Officials did not dispute its accuracy, but '                          they took exception to their action being looked upon
j                          as " a gratifying feature."    If they had stuck to their
ij                           work,  it  was  only,   they  declared,  because  they  had
f                          thought it was their duty to do so, and not at all because
I                          they  did  not   share  in the  general  sentiment of the
,1                          country, still less by remaining at their posts had  they
intended to imply any opposition to or disapproval of I                           it.    A pronouncement to this effect was drafted by the
'*                          Special   Committee   and  presented   to   the   Sultan   on
'                           April 1st, together with an intimation that they proposed to      f^il                             Nationalists,  who  deman.d our withdrawal from it