Skip to main content

Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

See other formats

intend to pursue if and when they have got " complete independences" What makes Egyptians despair, who realise their naed of England's friendship and help, is that we seem to be equally unable or unwilling to explain by what process we propose to reconcile British supremacy with Egyptian self-government, and that such indication? of policy as can be gathered from government by martial law point not towards but away from the fulfilment of our promises. For it is in the loss of Egyptian confidence, largely^ due to our own mistakes, that must be sought the main cause of our troubles, and the chief explanation of the large amount of popular support that the Party of Independence has won for its impracticable programme. There have been other contributory causes in the revival of racial and religious antagonism as well as in the ferment of new ideas, equally intolerant of any alien tutelage. but they have aggravated, not produced, the present revolt against British control.
If we want to regain the confidence we have lost, it is essential that we should understand why we have lost it in order to know how to regain it. When one talks to sober-minded Egyptians, one finds that, apart from a certain deterioration in the quality of British control, which it should be relatively easy to remedy as it has been largely due to personal factors, the system has had two evil results which have above all others provoked disappointment and distrust. One is the increasing efface-ment of Egyptian Ministers—so complete to-day that in these critical times they never open their mouths in public or attempt to give their people a lead—and the other is the inadequate and generally quite subordinate share given to Egyptians in the administration of the country. Both are naturally regarded as incompatible with any progress towards Egyptian self-government. I have already pointed out how the effacement of Egyptian Ministers has resulted from the failure to define the powers and responsibilities of those who represent on the one hand the authority of the British controlling power, andfor the protection of their