Skip to main content

Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

xvi             GOVERNMENT BY MARTIAL LAW              291
of ^ import duties. Take such cases as the following. There is a huge estabKshment of universal providers in Cairo run by Syrians which is stated to have made £350,000 profit last year on a capital of £600,000. Not a penny does it contribute to the State, except import duties, which it passes on to its customers. Or take a Greek subject who comes to Egypt as a penniless lad and becomes in time a millionaire. SometimeSjlike a good Greek patriot, he leaves the whole of his fortune made in Egypt to Ms*native town 113. Greece. Neither during Ms life nor at Ms death does the Egyptian State get a drachma out of Ms income or Ms estate, though it is Egypt that has made Mm rich. Not only are such conditions fatal to sound finance, but they are politically dangerous. For the sense of injustice they engender feeds the anti-foreign feeling, from wMch few Egyptians are altogether free.
The Capitulations stand equally in the way of labour legislation, the need for wMch has been brought home to employers as well as to the men by the recent epidemic of strikes, though they may have been as often due to political agitation as to economic causes. The Party of Independence now professes to make light of the Capitulations because their abolition or revision is not likely to be granted by the Powers in the event of a British withdrawal from Egypt. Before political passion ran so Mgh the Nationalists themselves made it one of their cMef reproaches against England that she did nothing to rid Egypt of such intolerable servitudes. But Great Britain is now pledged to move in the matter, and she cannot do so effectively until political stability is sufficiently ensured in Egypt to induce foreign Powers to listen to reasonable proposals.
There are other big questions wMch may not be affected by the particular form wMch the connection between                           f
Egypt and the British Empire ultimately assumes, so                           |
long as it is a connection that restores mutual confidence and good will.    These are questions with wMch the welfare                           j
u 2heless,   these   figures   testify   to   the almost   uninterrupted  expansion  of  Egyptian  revenue which has been going on since the early years of the