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252                     THE EGYPTIAN  PROBLEM                CHAP.
status of Egypt and gave her a new ruler without vouchsafing any explanation to her people or taking into our confidence the representative bodies with which we had ourselves endowed her.
Though they often seemed to have entirely misread the history of their own country and, to remain wilfully 11                                blind to all considerations arising out of the new political
| ;'i                                situation created in Europe by the war, they had carefully
i .,                                followed  every  word  uttered  in  England which could
j |;                  '              reinforce their arguments.    Tims they quoted to me with
! •                                great zest against the maintenance of our Protectorate
over Egypt, not only our recognition of the independence of
{                                  the new lledjaz Kingdom, but also the language in which
: j                                 Lord Curzon, when he explained the purpose of the new
I 7                                Anglo-Persian Convention, emphatically repudiated any
]                                  Idea* of a- British "Protectorate over Persia as out of the
!                                   question, since neither party would ever havo consented
j                                  to it.   How could England therefore inflict a Protectorate
I                                   upon uneonsenting Egyptians who may well claim to have
reached at least an high a plane of progress, civilisation,
and power as modern Persia, and a much higher one than
the subjects of the King of the lledjaz ?
The* demand for independence wan not, however, they aHBertedt a mere matter of national amour proprc. Independence wan essential to the introduction, of those democratic institutions which the example, of England
1                                   herself had taught Egyptians to value*.    Without inde-
pendence they could never hope to havo a national Government solely responsible, to an elected popular assembly, with tin* head of the State bound down to the functions of a ntrictly constitutional ruler. .If it were
j                                   argued that Egypt' wan quit** unripe for such democratic
;                                   institutions, wan she more HO, they retorted, than Clreecc.
5  •                                and  Serbia and   Bulgaria and  many other nations hud
»                                   been not- M> very long ago, who, in spite of many blunders,
had found in the practice of democracy the only real road j        •                            to national freedom and progress ?
An independent Kgypt, they  hastened to add,  wouldt is El Azhar that provides throughout Egypt