Theodore Roosevelt on the Early 20th Century Egyptian “Arab Spring”

Theodore Roosevelt penned the remarkably prescient words, below, in a 1911 letter to his long-time correspondent and friend, Sir George Otto Trevelyan, reflecting upon Roosevelt’s post-Presidency visit to Cairo and Khartoum, the previous year. Roosevelt’s concerns about the recrudescence of “old-style Moslem rule,” i.e., a Sharia not re-shaped or constrained by Western law, may now be fully realized a century later following the removal of Egyptian President Mubarak, and the electoral ascendancy of vox populi, mainstream Egyptian Islamic parties.

From “Theodore Roosevelt And His Time Shown In His Own Letters,” Vol. II, New York,   Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1920:

Perhaps what the French are now doing in Algiers, what the English are now doing in Egypt and the Sudan, will in the end result in failure, and the culture they have planted wither away, just as the Græco-Roman culture which flourished in the same lands-a couple of thousand years ago afterwards vanished. [p. 186]…

The real strength of the Nationalist movement in Egypt, however, lay not with these Levantines of the café  but with the mass of practically unchanged bigoted Moslems to whom the movement meant driving out the foreigner, plundering and slaying the local Christian, and a return to all the violence and corruption which festered under the old-style Moslem rule, whether Asiatic or African. [p. 189]


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