War Tax Resistance News from the NWTRCC Newsletter

A new issue of NWTRCC’s newsletter is out, with content including:

A Daily News dispatch from Asyut, Egypt, on told of a tax resistance campaign there:

The financial condition of Egypt is becoming daily more desperate. The policy of collecting the taxes in kind has proved a complete failure. The fellaheen in Upper Egypt obstinately refuse to pay the taxes. Neither the arrears nor the current taxes can be collected. Only £5 sterling was paid last month in the Moudirieh of Esnieh. The Moudir has been removed. The fellaheen complain that the price of produce allowed by the Government is insufficient. They will pay neither in coin nor kind. There are no disorders, but a sullen passive resistance is everywhere offered. This attitude is encouraged by the Sheiks and Notables. The Egyptian Government is on the eve of absolute bankruptcy. A great part of the money borrowed on the security of the taxes in kind, and not yet collected, has been spent already. I am assured on good authority that on there will not be a shilling in the Treasury to meet the ordinary expenses. The Ministry of Finance has issued orders to the Moudirs to compel the immediate payment of the taxes, and to warn the fellahs that if not paid at once their land will be sold. This action is equivalent to a general eviction of the population. The wisdom of this energetic course is doubtful at a moment when the insurrection is creeping north, and the Mahdi’s agents are known to be inciting the fellahs in Upper Egypt to revolt. An attempt to collect the taxes by force will probably lead to a social war, which might spread over all Egypt. The attitude of the population in Upper Egypt is so threatening in several districts that the European residents are sending their families to Cairo as a measure of precaution.

This was a particularly rough period in Britain’s turn to play Imperialist Outsiders Try To Run The Middle East.