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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

XI
PASSIVE REBELLION
199
go on strike for two days as a protest against Lord Curzon's praise.
Accordingly, on April 3rd all the native officials remained away from their offices. In some departments, including the State Telegraphs, the strike had been already started the day before owing to a misunderstanding. The grand demonstration arranged for the same day to lend greater emphasis to the strike of officials had ended disastrously in the big riot in Abdeen Square. The next day being a Friday and the Mahomedan day of rest was, according to the usual custom in Egypt, a holiday in all Government offices. On Saturday the strike was supposed to end and a great number resumed work, mostly, however, those who had been reluctant to go on strike at all. But the majority still remained away. On Sunday the Special Committee met and a compromise was arrived at. It was agreed in principle that work should be resumed, but that once a week—every Monday—officials were to absent themselves as a formal protest " until the wishes of the nation were fulfilled." This was greeted as a triumph for the moderates, but it was anyhow of short-lived duration, for the Extremists made the very fulfilment of " the wishes of the nation," which was to put an end to all idea of a strike, a new excuse for prolonging it. As soon as the news of the release of the four Pashas arrived on the Monday (April 7th), the Extremists prevailed on the officials to desert their posts again in order to take part in the national rejoicings over that auspicious event, and before the rejoicings were over, they persuaded them to remain away until they obtained " satisfactory pledges " from the new Cabinet which was at last being formed. Rushdi Pasha took office on April 9th, and he at once gave an interview in the native Press in which he warmly urged the people and the officials to return to their normal occupations. As far as the officials were concerned, this did not have the desired effect. On the contrary, their demand for " pledges " had by that time                                                                                                                                                                                              *