IT is now nine months since -Ithe Anglo-French forces invaded Egypt and occupied Port Said. Since the withdrawal of the occupying troops, passions in Egypt have cooled down somewhat and it is now becoming possible to assess some of the effects of the events of November, 1956.
First, the character of Nasser has become much more clearly delineated. He has been revealed as an unusual Egyptian, a man who is very clear in his own mind in his knowledge of his aims and very pertinacious in achieving his purposes.
It used to be said that Egypt did not produce that type of man but now that he has been produced. the explanation is being given that Nasser is the result of the chaos, corruption and shame resulting from former venal regimes.
He himself seems not to be venal but it is possible that in the future Nasser's chief obstacle in carrying out his plans for the reform and development of Egypt w ill lie In the officer corps of his army.
Dictatorship Strengthened THERE have been many complaints against the pretensions and corruption of the
officers and though Nasser has opposed the injustices and given orders that his men should act in accordance with Egyptian law, it may well be that he will not be able to control them.
In the last instance, his greatest enemy may turn out to be his own people.
The events of November have strengthened the trend towards dictatorship in Egypt and increased the power of Nasser.
In itself the presence in Egypt of a strong personal rule is nothing to be alarmed at for many people think that many of the abuses of pre-Nasser Egypt were the result of the imposing on the Egyptians of a fully democratic Parliament for which they were not politically mature.
Lord Lloyd in his "Egypt Since Cromer " ends by saying that one should remember that Egypt still needs the strong hand of an autocrat to which she has for centuries been accustomed.
The power of Nasser has been increased because the military defeat of the Egyptian army at the hands of Israel was the occasion of revealing some of the sources of opposition in the country, which were not sufficiently strong to take over the rule of the country from him.
His plans hastened
THE invasion of November, 1956, has hastened in a remarkable way the application of Nasser's plans for the Egyptianisation of business life in his
To one who understands the racial make-up and economic conditions of the cities of Egypt. particularly Cairo, Alexandria and Port Said, the trend towards Egyptianisation will appear inevitable.
The economic life of Egypt is the creation of foreigners, who had a better education and greater business experience than the native Egyptians.
Since the beginning of the Nasser regime the principle that
An Absurd Rumour
ONE of the oddest rumours
about THE CAT1101.1C HERALD which seemed to crop up again and again was that Dick Stokes either owned the paper or was one of its directors. What the grounds for this belief may have been I have no idea. It is true that he received a good deal of publicity in our columns, but the reason for this was perfectly simple: what he had to say usually made "news" and it was always worth saying and hearing. On most matters of public interest he was willing to comment and he trusted us to reproduce what he said accurately. It may have been the frequency of the appearance of his name in our columns which caused people to think that Tor CATHOLIC HERALD was, in some way, connected with the Labour Party. This also was and is utterly without foundation. In our time, we have been given every possible political label, including Communist and Fascist. This is the fate of any paper which tries to be independent of all party allegiances and seeks to judge public questions on their merits.
THE tine days of this summer must have prompted many owners of old houses to match the sun with some fresh paint on doors and windows. But when I asked a firm for an estimate I was knocked sideways by the price. What then about doing it for oneself? The summer sense must have prompted me to order a sun-like yellow, and for a couple of weekends I have been standing precariously at the top of double ladders and hanging-on to windowpanes by my feet and teeth. The first effect was a painting of the garden path because rather than lose my life I lost my pot of paint. However, even short practice works wonders. Time was when I tried to paint pictures in
Egyptians should have a greater share in the economic life of their own country has been receiving increasing emphasis and the process of achieving this end has been considerably speeded up since November.
In June of this year, for example, a decree was issued reserving to Egyptians the right to hold permits to trade as importers of merchandise
First and second class
NO ONE can object to the principle but the application of the principle has been marked by the revival of the old Moslem theory of first and second class citizens.
This theory holds that a true Egyptian is a person of Egyptian blood and Islamic religion. Others, for example, Christians of Egyptian racial origin, such as the Copts, in practice do not enjoy the full rights of Egyptian citizenship, particularly when it is a question of employment.
A Jesuit priest of Lebanese origin, Fr. Chidiac, was expelled from Egypt for giving voice to many complaints in this connection in the Catholic weekly paper " Le Rayon d'Egypte." The paper did not appear for several weeks and when permission was finally given for its reappearance the Nasser regime insisted that the editorship must pass from clerical into lay hands.
Egyptian subjects of Greek, Armenian, Lebanese or other racial origin are treated with even less consideration than the Copts in the matter of employment. The result of this is that a great exodus from Egypt is taking place. The number of Catholics is thus diminishing fast and Egypt is likely to become of decreasing Catholic interest in the future.
Communism growing NOTHER result of the invasion of November is the growing threat of Communism in Egypt.
It cannot be said with certainty that Egypt will become a Communist country but there is no doubt at all about the growing influence of Communism there. One sign of this is the great volume of Communist propaganda which is now on sale in the bookshops of Cairo and Alexandria at prices so low as to reveal that the motive for sale is not financial gain.
Most of these books and reviews are printed in Russia and China and are distributed through the agency of newspaper groups in close touch with the Egyptian government such as "El Gomhorria " and "El Shaab."
The influence of Communism can be seen in the phraseology in which the Egyptian government has begun to issue its communiques, which resemble very closely in style of language and choice of words those of Moscow.
Egypt now finds herself in a very serious economic plight as a result of her conflict with Britain and France. In the month of June almost no foreign currency was available in the banks of Cairo and foreigners leaving for Europe on holiday were forced by circuthstance to depart with as little as £5 for travelling expenses though the official allowance is £20 in foreign currency. No intending traveller wishes to take Egyptian currency
with him because of its greatly 'educed purchasing power abroad.
The present attempts on the part of Egypt to re-establish friendly relations with Britain must he viewed in the light of the economic predicament of Nasser who has much more need of Britain than he cares to admit to his own people.
A Question of leadership
ALAST very important re sult of the Anglo-French intervention in Egypt is the break-up of Arab unity. Of course, this split between Egypt and Syria on the one hand, and Jordan. Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon on the other, was inevitable as long as Nasser favoured dependence on Communist aid.
It must not be presumed that these countries, with the exception oft Lebanon. will continue their present determination to oppose the spread of Communism.
Politics in the Middle East are not the outcome of public opinion but public opinion in politics always follows the lead given to it by those in power.
At present leadership in Jordan. Irak and Saudia Arabia is opposed to Communism because the leaders are Kings, who cannot hope to retain their thrones under a Communist regime.
The assassin's bullets could very easily and very quickly lead to the establishment of Communist government in these Middle East kingdoms.
Jordan, perhaps, is the most unstable politically on account of the presence there of half a million Palestinian refugees whose real grievances have made them strongly pro-Communist.
A Communist victory in Jordan would he a real victory for Nasser for it would link up Egypt with her chief support, Syria.
Defenders of Islam EGYPT is, then, undergoing a process of evolving new forms of political thought, of which her instability and numerous crises are the symptoms.
Her development must be considered jn the light of Western ideas for it must not be thought that Islam is a potent factor in the changes which the country has undergone in recent years
Islam has not yet shown that it can be the vitalising force in a society tending towards European social ideals.
The leaders in Egypt are soldiers whose training has been along the lines of that of European armies and who are said to be Communists at heart, though for the moment they pay lip service to Islam and set themselves up as its defenders.
stand him aright. is far from happy about the present policy of the French Bishops who would seem to wish to exclude from Catholic Action in France any action on the temporal and political plane lest the Catholic workers in France be tempted along the lines which tempted the workerpriests. Fr. Fitzsimons begins with the startling thought: "Worst of all, the J.O.C., which can rightly claim to have been the pioneer of modern forms of the apostolate now seems to he cast for the role among the youth movements of wrecker in chief." Its exclusive emphasis on evangelisation has been accepted as the norm for all Catholic Action in France and has been the undoing of the more civic and social A.C.J.F. 1 should myself have thought that the spirit of the J.O.C. was by no means confined to evangelisation, but on the contrary definitely included education or formation for concrete social action. Specialised Catholic Action, in fact. of which the J.O.C. was the pioneer, stands between purely evangelical Catholic Action and Catholic or Christian political action.