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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

282                   THE EGYPTIAN PROBLEM                CHAP.
had played a prominent part in the prolonged strike n of Government officials retained their appointments. On the other hand, many Egyptians who had i^mained loyal, and even some who had helped to save the lives of Englishmen during the worst troubles, received no reward or recognition. The handling of the Press was equally difficult to understand. Lord Allenby had abolished the censorship over the Press shortly after the suppression of the active and passive rebellions of March-April, 1919. Many Egyptians themselves questioned at the time the wisdom of conceding such very wide freedom to a largely irresponsible Press. Freedom indeed very soon degenerated once more into intolerable licence, and when the autumn brought back a recurrence of riotous demonstrations, some of the most rabid newspapers were occasionally suspended under the provisions of the ordinary Press law for inciting to violence, and then almost immediately allowed, rather unaccountably, to reappear. Whilst the Milner Commission was in Egypt, the Nationalist papers fulminated against it with complete impunity. To have attempted to muzzle it then would have been regarded as a vindictive retort to the boycotting of the Milner Commission. But no sooner had the Commission departed than martial law re-enacted the preventive censorship imposed during the war. It is perhaps the only really effective form of censorship, and it was applied with more intelligence than during the war, but so violent a swing of the official pendulum seemed to require more explanation than was given.
Lord Allenby, however, it must be remembered, was sent to Cairo as Special High Commissioner to restore public order and security after a formidable outbreak of violence, and he has remained in Cairo as High Commissioner to maintain them and to uphold the Protectorate. He carried out his instructions in the spirit of the fine soldier that he is, whose business is to obey orders and see that his own orders are obeyed. Few will contend that he could have dispensed with martial law, and still fewerand even Under-Secretaries of State who to rely upon themselves. Governors and sub-governors do not know where to look for guidance, and                            ^