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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

CHAPTER XVI
GOVERNMENT BY  MARTIAL LAW
ONE of the awkward features of the deadlock Into which we have drifted in Egypt is that, even for measures quite remote from the controversial sphere of politics, proclamations under martial law have to take the place of ordinary legislative sanction. For instance, a recent law concerning house rents, which wan a belated and somewhat slipshod attempt to mitigate the hardships of an acute housing crisis., could only be made operative by a solemn proclamation under martial law, and if experience shows it to require amendment, the amendments will have to be enacted in the name way. It IB rather like using a sledge-hammer to crack a nut. But it, in the only procedure now available.
New laws can still be drafted in the usual way find they can be approved by the Council of MiiuBlern, but they cannot be carried through the next constitutional stage, which reqxiirCH them to 1)0 passed by the legislative Assembly. For the legislative Assembly held its first and only session in 1914, before the war, junt after it had been elected under the new Organic Btatute promulgated during Lord Kitchener's tenure of ofliee in Cairo, Since then it has been repeatedly and at last indefinitely prorogued. It has never been dissolved, but it m a moot. point whether its powers have not by thin time expired, as the periodical elections by which It nhould be partially renewed every two years have not taken place. It mission will not have neglected to take note of them. But a nation's capacity for self-government has to be judged very largely by the capacity of the men by whom it elects to be represented, and that these did not serve Egypt wisely when they had a great opportunity is a conclusion for which they have only themselves to thank.