The Cairo Police

Cairo Police 25th July, 1907

This story is straight-up the plot of a comedy. The opening line:

“So much has been said and written about the incompetency of our Cairo police in the local papers, that it is quite a pleasure to be able to report a really smart capture recently effected by the greatly maligned arm of the law”

The story telling in this piece is fantastic and by the end of the story, the person who reported the stolen bank notes refused to compensate the police 10%, so the police decided to hold the money indefinitely. This story appeared in the Local and General section in the July 25th, 1907 edition of the newspaper.

From this story, major conclusions can be drawn about the state of law enforcement in Egypt at the time. The efficiency of the Egyptian Police was greatly hindered by the Capitulations imposed on the Ottoman Empire by European powers. These Capitulations exempted foreigners from local laws and thus, the local authorities had to tread carefully around making arrest and upholding the law. This could be the “maligned arm of the law” referenced earlier.

There are many instances of the Egyptian police displaying inability to act from anarchist or obnoxious beggars. With the Capitulations being a tool of European imperialism in Egypt, many European foreigners would commit crimes and get away with it due to the layers and layers of paperwork needed to make an arrest. Under the Capitulation System, European life and well being was the primary concerns of the state. This led to drastic inequalities in the justice system. This story is one of many that can be traced back to the societal inequalities posed by European imperialism.

Kenneth Hills
Kenneth Hills

Kenneth Hills, a student at Florida State University, was enrolled in the digital microhistory lab in the Spring of 2020.