A Fabian in Egypt: Salamah Musa and the Rise of the Professional Classes in Egypt, 1909-1939 0819153397, 9780819153395

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A Fabian in Egypt: Salamah Musa and the Rise of the Professional Classes in Egypt, 1909-1939
 0819153397, 9780819153395

Table of contents :
Acknowledgments
Table of Contents
Introduction
Part I. 1887-1919
1. The Making Of a Radical
2. The Transformation of Society
Part II. 1919-1929
3. The Dialectic of Science and Socialism
4. Egypt At the Crossroads
Part III. 1929-1939
5. Towards A National Socialism
Part IV. Conclusion
6. The Intellectual Between Two Cultures
Bibliography

Citation preview

A FABIAN IN EGYPT Salamah Musa and the Rise o f the Professional Classes in Egypt, 1909-1939 Vernon Egger

UNIVERSITY PRESS OF AMERICA

LANHAM • NEWYORK • LONDON

Copyright © 1966 by

University Press of America,* Inc.

4720BostonWay Lanham, MD 20706 3HenriettaStreet London WC2E 8LU England All rights reserved Printed inthe UnitedStatesof America Library ofCongress Cataloging inPublication Data

Egger, Vernon, 1948A Fabianin Egypt. Bibliography: p. Includes index. 1. Musa, Salamah, 1887-1958. 2. Professions—Egyp History. I. Title. DT107.2.M79E35 1986 303.4’84’0924 86-5551 ISBN 0-8191-5339-7(alk. paper) ISBN0-8191-53404) (pbk. : alk. paper)

All University Pressof America booksareproducedonacid-free paper whichexceeds theminimumstandardsset by the National Historical PublicationsandRecordsCommission.

Por Mary

iii

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I wish to express my ap p re c ia tio n fo r two gran ts which made th is study p o s s ib le . Research in Egypt during 1979-1980 was funded by a grant provided by the In te rn a tio n a l Communications Agency o f the U.S. State Department through the American Research Center in Egypt, which awarded and administered it . Research in England and at the L ib ra ry o f Congress in 1982 was funded by a Boynton Fellowship awarded by the Horace H. Rackham School o f Graduate S tu d ies, The U n iv e rs ity o f Michigan. I owe many people a debt o f g ra titu d e fo r the generosity and cooperation extended to me in the course o f t h is work. Among the sch o lars who have read and made comments on the manuscript are the late Richard P. M itc h e ll, Trevor LeGassick, Ronald G. Suny, Rudi P. Lindner, Joel Beinin and Steven Heydemann. In Egypt I was greatly assisted by the comments and interpretation o f Drs. al-Sayyid 'Ashmawi, Louis *Awad, Hasan Hanafi, 'A l l al-D in H ila l and Ahmad al-S aw i; Father Georges C. Anawati; and Messrs. Anwar Kamil, Emile Sam'an, Abu Sayf Yusuf and the la t e Emile Zaydan. In a d d itio n , I w ish to acknowledge my a p p reciatio n to the s t a f f s o f Dar al-K u tu b al-Qawmiyah, Dar al-A k h bar and Dar a l H ila l. Dr. James Allen o f the American Research Center in Egypt f a c i l i t a t e d my research long a f t e r my grant period had terminated. In the United States and England I received special co n sid eratio n from Mr. John E ilt e o f the Near East section o f the Hatcher L ib ra ry , The U n iv e rs ity o f Michigan; Dr. Derek Hopwood and Ms. Marion McGilvary o f the Middle East Centre, St. Antony's C o lle g e , Oxford University; and the s t a ffs o f the Public Record O ffice (London), the l i b r a r y o f the School o f O rie n ta l and A fric a n Studies (The U n iv e rs ity o f London), and the Library o f Congress. Special thanks go to John Daily, G eorge P r a t t , David Speak, and Rebecca Ryan f o r a ssistin g in the mechanics o f producing the manuscript fo r publication. Finally, to those members of Salamah Musa's fam ily whom I contacted both in the United S tates and in E gypt, I e x p re s s s p e c i a l th anks. They w ere a l l , without exception, most generous and helpful in th eir remarks and suggestions. v

TABLE OF CONTENTS DEDICATION................................................................. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ......................................................... INTRODUCTION ................................................................. PART I .

iii V

ix

1887-1919

CHAPTER 1.

THE MAKING OF A RADICAL................................

3

The Copts in Transition The Syrian Connection To London and Back 2.

THE TRANSFORMATION OF SOCIETY......................

39

A Humanism fo r the Post-God Era Socialism fo r the Middle Classes Agenda fo r an Interregnum PART I I . 3.

1919-1929

THE DIALECTIC OF SCIENCE AND SOCIALISM . .

69

The Egyptian S o c ia lis t Party Philosophers and Kings Lamarck and Marx 4.

EGYPT AT THE CROSSROADS.....................................117 The Reemergence o f Islam as a P o lit ic a l Force "East is East . . . " Egypt in the World Community The Process of Westernization Freedom o f Thought The Social Purpose o f Literature

vii

PART III. 5.

1929-1939

TOWARDS A NATIONAL SOCIALISM .............

. 169

The Egyptian fo r the Egyptian Achieving Economic Independence A Social Program for In d u strial Society Fascism and the Universal Culture PART IV. 6.

CONCLUSION

THE INTELLECTUAL BETWEEN TWO CULTURES . . The Last Years Fabianism in Egypt

BIBLIOGRAPHY

............................................................

viii

.

221

. 237

INTRODUCTION Salamah Musa (1887-1958) was one o f the most v i s i b l e o f the Egyptian in t e l le c t u a ls in the p eriod 1909-1939. A q u ix o t ic fig u r e who sought to tran sform Egypt in to the image o f Edwardian England, or more p r e c is e ly , the image which Fabians conceived fo r Edwardian England, Musa is in terestin g i f only fo r the singular ideas he advanced. Musa's ideas, however, are not as important i n t r i n s i c a l l y as they are fo r t h e ir so cio lo g ical sign ifican ce— they represent the emergence o f a new c la s s in Egypt* a s c i e n t i f i c , a d m in istra tiv e and te c h n o lo g ic a l e l i t e which was becoming im patient w ith t r a d it io n a l a u t h o r it ie s , d isco u rse , and s o c ia l s tru c tu re s . This work in v e s t ig a t e s Musa's c a re e r as th e vanguard o f t h i s new e l i t e , and a tte m p ts to u n d e rsta n d h i s id e a s w it h in th e c o n t e x t o f t h i s so c io lo g ic a l change. The fe r m e n t and d i v e r s i t y o f E g y p t ia n i n t e l l e c t u a l l i f e d u rin g th e f i r s t h a l f o f the twentieth century obscures the re la tiv e absence u n til th e l a t e 1930s o f work in th e f i e l d o f s o c i a l c r itic is m . T h is la c u n a w as due in p a r t to th e continuing predominance o f the n a t io n a lis t question o v er other p o l i t i c a l is s u e s a f t e r the turn o f the century, and in p a rt i t was due to the governmental repression o f dissident s o c io p o lit ic a l thought. A s t r ik in g exception to the g e n e ra l lack o f c ritic ism published before 19 38 was the work of Salamah Musa, a la rg e ly self-educated Coptic in te lle c tu a l and jo u r n a lis t . Musa served as a g a d fly under v ario u s regim es f o r alm ost h a l f a century both during the B r it is h occupation and l a t e r under the monarchy. He may w e ll have been the f i r s t Egyptian so cial c r it i c in th e modern sense, v iz ., one who engages in polem ics against tra d itio n a l values and au thorities in order to e f f e c t s o c ia l change. In c o n tra st to other Egyptian i n t e l le c t u a ls o f the nineteenth and e a r ly tw en tieth c e n t u r ie s who a ttem p ted t o re fo rm a p a r t i c u l a r in stitu tio n or trad itio n (e.g., Islam, al-Azhar, or the s ta t e ) in o rd er to p reserv e and defend i t a g a in s t a perceived threat, Musa wished to replace the existin g s o c ia l structure and dominant cu ltu ral values with new ones. He p ro fe s s e d to fin d l i t t l e th a t was worth s a lv a g in g in Egyptian c u ltu re , and he endeavored to show Egyptians th at they should co n scio u sly p attern th e ir social, economic and p o lit ic a l structures a fte r ix

European models.^* Musa's l i f e work was " r a d ic a l" s o c ia l c r it ic is m in two q u ite d if f e r e n t senses o f the term : he wanted to ta l, revolutionary (although nonviolent) change, and he was h e a v ily in flu en ced by the E n glish Radical tra d itio n in the values he espoused and in the targets o f h is a tta c k . The tran sform ation he sought was le s s p o l i t i c a l than c u lt u r a l and moral, and h is a p o l i t i c a l i n c l i n a t i o n w as r e s p o n s i b l e f o r many o f h i s d i f f i c u l t i e s in achieving a u n ifie d theory. A member o f the Fabian Society while a young man, Musa remained committed to his understanding o f Fabianism throughout h is l i f e . His attempt to in t e r p r e t the Egyptian experience within that framework accounts fo r nuch o f the sin g u la rity and h is to ric a l in terest o f h is thought. T h is work examines the s o c ia l r o le o f Musa's career in twentieth century Egyptian h istory. Although the study contains a system atic treatm ent o f Musa's id eas i t s prim ary concern is to measure h is work le s s in terms o f i t s th e o re t ic a l content than in terms o f i t s o rg a n iz in g p r in c ip le s and the fu n c t io n (s ) that i t may have served w ith in the Egyptian s o c ia l structure. The in q u ir y i s d ire c te d towards id e n t ify in g which purposes are being served by given id eas, models and sty les o f thought, and towards tracing the development o f Musa's id eas through the s o c ia l, p o l i t i c a l and economic change o f early twentieth century Egypt. I t is impossible to give a meaningful account o f any th in k e r's id eas w ithout exam ining the s o c ia l context out o f which they a r is e , and w ith Musa the p r in c ip le a p p lie s with even g r e a te r fo rc e because o f h is p io n e e rin g r o le as an i n t e l l e c t u a l r a d ic a lly alienated from h is culture. His e arly w ritin gs posed a c h a lle n g e to h is cu ltu re o f a nature unprecedented in modern Egyptian h is t o ry . I t i s alm ost in co n ceivable that an Egyptian could have expressed these ideas even a decade e a r lie r than Musa did, although they had been cu rre n t in Europe fo r many years. To account f o r Musa's r a d ic a lis a t io n in the form th at i t took and a t the tim e a t which i t occurred we must look beyond obvious re lig io u s and economic considerations. Musa was a member o f th e m in o r it y C o p tic community, and there is no doubt th at h is having been born a Copt contribu ted to the d istan ce he f e l t from the m ajority Muslim culture, as we sh a ll see. However, many Copts made th eir accomodation to minority status x

by becoming w ealth y or p o l i t i c a l l y p o w e rfu l or both, whereas Musa cared for neither o f these altern atives in h is society as i t was then structured. Furthermore, he r e je c t e d the Coptic t r a d it io n as w e ll as the Muslim one, and attacked both e q u a lly . E conom ically, too, Musa had no reason to p ress fo r changes in the s o c ia l ordert he became independently w ealth y through land in h e rita n c e w h ile s t i l l a youth, and land ownership c o n f e r r e d n ot on ly econom ic s e c u r i t y b u t s o c i a l p restige as w e ll. In studying Musa we confront a man who was born in to the com fortable p ro p e rtie d c la s s o f Egypt, was educated in science and s o c ia l ra d ic a lis m , and then became a s t r id e n t c r i t i c not o n ly o f the m a jo rity Muslim culture but also of his Coptic heritage. Despite an apparent f in a n c ia l in t e r e s t in m aintainin g the e x istin g economic system which favored medium to large land h o ld in g s , he advocated s o c ia lis m and the end o f p r iv a t e p ro p e rty . U n lik e most o t h e r E g y p tia n i n t e l le c t u a ls o f h is time, h is in t e r e s t la y more in sc ie n c e than in lit e r a t u r e , and in in te rn a tio n a lis m than in the Egyptian n atio n alist movement. The central argument o f this study is that Musa's work can b e s t be understood in terms o f the emergence o f a new stratum w ithin Egyptian society. A new class o f n onpropertied p r o fe s s io n a ls and te c h n ic ia n s was seeking to find a place in a so cial structure dominated by landed w ealth , and Musa, who i d e n t i f i e d w ith i t s f u t u r e , w as th e most s a l i e n t spokesman f o r i t s in terests. U ntil a fte r World War I th is cla ss was tiny and w ie ld e d alm ost no p o l i t i c a l or s o c ia l power. I t mushroomed d u rin g th e l a t e 1920s and th e 1930s, however, at a time when it s members' expectations were being fru strated by lim ite d employment o p p o rtu n itie s w hich were due as much to E gypt's s o c ia l stru c tu re as t o th e w o r ld econom ic d e p r e s s io n . A lth o u g h i t s p o l i t i c a l power remained very lim ited, i t s demand fo r s o c ia l reforms was beginning to have it s e ffe c t in the immediate pre-World War I I years. As H ila ry K ilpatridk has remarked concerning th is period. T h e in t e llig e n t 8 ia o f te c h n ic ia n s, o f f i c i a l s , and p r o fe s s io n a l men and women demanded the kind o f criticism o f the s o c ia l and p o l i t i c a l o rd e r which only Sa lama [ s i c ] Musa among the older generation had attempted, and men such as A l-'A q q a d were now attack ed f o r xi

th e ir ignorance o f s o c ia l and economic problems.2 As K ilp a t r ic k suggests# Musa represen ted a lin e o f thought which appealed to in c re a s in g numbers o f educated young men and women who were demanding changes in the e x istin g so c ia l structure and i t s in stitu tio n s. They wanted land reform in order to reduce the power o f th e la r g e la n d o w n e rs # a p o lic y o f ra p id in d u stria liz a tio n in order to absorb th e ir own skills# and the fo rm u latio n o f an Egyptian c u lt u r a l id e n t it y appropriate fo r the twentieth century. Musa's themes o f egalitarianism # industrialism# and cosmopolitanism answered the id eological needs o f many of these people. His id iosyn cratic and occasionally eccentric manner o f expressing these themes was not always successful#3 but the themes themselves were popular among those who were becoming educated in the scie n ces and d e s ir in g to p a r t ic i p a t e more f u l l y in in t e r n a t io n a l i n t e l le c t u a l and c u ltu ra l developments. T h is stratum# now o ften r e fe r r e d to as the New Class in so c io lo g ic a l literature# includes scientists# e n g in e e rs # p h y s ic ia n s # managers# accou n tan ts# jo u r n a lis t s # and others whose work i s p ro fe s s io n a l# t e c h n ic a l o r s c i e n t i f i c . 4 Musa i d e n t i f i e d w ith the members o f th e New C la s s r a t h e r th an w it h th e p r o p e r t ie d e l i t e . L ik e them he became p ro g re s s iv e ly alien ated from h is so cial and c u ltu ra l environment by h is education in science# and he found in Fabianism an ideology fo r the Edwardian New Class which he embraced fo r Egypt as w ell. Convinced th at the fu tu re la y w ith in d u stria l# s c ie n tific # and s o c ia lis t organization# Musa attacked the p r in c ip le o f landed p ro p e rty and a l l Egyptian c u lt u r a l fe a tu re s which he thought might h in der the W e s te rn iz a tio n o f the country. He re p e a te d ly c a lle d fo r a new e l i t e to take over the r e in s o f power in Egypt# and although his terminology varied as his ideas developed# the e l i t e he had in mind i s c le a rs they were the in te lle c tu a ls and in t e llig e n t s ia who# because o f t h e i r t r a in in g in the modern s o c i a l o r n a tu ra l s c ie n c e s and t h e ir lack o f property# had d if f e r e n t in terests from those of the re lig io u s elite# the landed class# and the nascent bourgeoisie. Musa's advocacy o f the W e ste rn iz a tio n o f every facet o f Egyptian so cial l i f e was not intended to be a contribution to the history o f ideas# but rather was an xii

e x p l i c i t p o l i t i c a l act, a set o f claim s advancing the candidacy o f the New C lass as a new e l i t e . The New Class was not legitim ated by tra d itio n a l p o lit ic a l or r e li g i o u s id e o lo g ie s , and Musa sought to au th o rize i t in the new ( f o r Egypt) r h e t o r ic o f science. The in t e n s it y o f the attack s on Musa f o r h is s o c i a l i s t , s e c u la r and in d u s t r i a l/ s c i e n t if i c view s, both during his life tim e and today, is vivid evidence o f the threat which those id eas have posed to c e r t a in m aterial in te re s ts . This study focuses on the course o f Musa's career from 1909 to 1939, a ft e r which time h is importance as a s o c i a l c r i t i c declined ra p id ly . Because o f fin a n c ia l p re s s u re s and the co n stra in ts o f the war p e rio d , he ceased to publish his own monthly and weekly journals and became a s t a f f w riter for other publications with lim ited circulation, confining the bulk o f h is w ritin g to science, applied psychology and moral issues. A fter th e war he g ra d u a lly came back in to the p u b lic eye, and as a s t a f f w r it e r fo r Dar al-A k h bar during the 19 50s he was p ro b ab ly more w e ll known than ever befo re. The issues he treated, however, were quite d iffe re n t from th ose o f the p re-W o rld War I I p e rio d , and except fo r the m aturation o f h is id eas on the s o c ia l r o le o f lite ra tu re , his opinions on so cial and p o lit ic a l issues w ere i n d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e from th o s e o f many o th e r w rite rs . During the period under consideration in this book Musa's thought was that o f a d e fin ite minority. T h is study o f f e r s an in t e r p r e t a t io n o f Musa's c a re e r c o n sid e ra b ly at varian ce w ith oth er accounts. The other stu d ie s, both monographs and a r t i c l e s , have been h eavily dependent upon Musa's autobiography, which was w r it t e n a f t e r World War I I . That work r e f le c t s Musa's postwar enthusiasm fo r the Egyptian n atio n alist movement which sought to expel the B ritish from Egypt, and fo r a democratic government to replace the corrupt regim e o f King Faruq. Musa had not advocated B r it is h m ilitary withdrawal before this time, fo r he had always hoped th a t the B r it is h would be the a c t iv e agent b r i n g i n g a b o u t m o d e rn iza tio n in E gyp t. In h i s autobiography, however, he portrayed h is entire career as having been a crusade a ga in st the B r it is h im p e ria l p r e s e n c e in Egypt. F u rth erm o re, n o th in g in th e a u t o b io g r a p h y a l l u d e s t o th e f a c t t h a t Musa was outspokenly antidemocratic during the 1920s, nor that he was an apologist fo r H it le r 's Nazi regime during the 1930s. xiii

Musa's advocacy o f anticolonialism and democracy during and a ft e r World War I I constituted a response to c h a n g e d c o n d i t i o n s in E g y p t . As t h i s s tu d y dem onstrates, both Musa's in te rw a r o p p o sitio n to any n a tio n a lis t movement other than h is own idiosyncratic v e rsio n and h is an tidem ocratic sentim ents can be in t e r p r e t e d in li g h t o f h is id e o lo g ic a l in t e r e s t s . Both would be revised in lig h t o f the new international and domestic conditions brought about by war. The book is arranged chronologically in order to exam ine th e developm ent o f M usa's th o u gh t as he responded to h is changing environment. Part I examines the p e rio d b e fo re W orld War I , when he was f i r s t ex p erien c in g the Ideas which were to shape h is e n t ir e c a re e r. Of the two chapters in t h is se c tio n one explores h is exposure to in te lle c tu a l influences both in Egypt and in Europe, w h ile the oth er analyzes h is prew ar w r it in g s which attempted to in t e g r a t e many d is p a r a t e id e o lo g ic a l and p h ilo s o p h ic a l cu rren ts to which he had been exposed. P a rt I I examines Musa's main concerns during the 1920s— socialism and Egyptian cu ltu ra l iden tity — and Part I I I treats o f Musa's so cial and econ om ic th ou gh t d u r in g th e 19308. P a r t IV concludes the study with two discussions. The f i r s t i s a survey o f Musa's career a fte r 1939, and the second is a re fle c tio n on the significance o f Musa's career as a s o c ia l c r it i c and moralist. The t r a n s lit e r a t io n employed in t h is work fo r most A rabic words i s based on the L ib r a r y o f Congress system, but without the d ia c r it ic a l marks. For names o f persons and p la c e s I have norm ally used s p e llin g s which have gained wide currency rather than in sistin g on consistency, as in Nasser, Dinshaway, and Emile. In the case o f Musa's name I have adhered to the L ib r a r y o f Congress system for "Salamah" rather than the oftenused "Sa lama."

Notes to Introduction 1. One may argue that S h ib li Shumayyil antedated Musa as a r a d ic a l s o c ia l c r i t i c in Egypt, b u t the claim f o r Musa i s more convincing. Shumayyil was a Syrian resid in g in Egypt; h is critique was not as wide-ranging as M usa's; and because the B r it is h occupied Egypt throughout h is Egyptian career h is work did not have th e p o l i t i c a l im pact t h a t M u sa's d id under the monarchy. Shumayyil did have a profound in flu e n c e on Musa, and we s h a ll encounter him l a t e r . Musa would r e c a l l in l a t e r years that the S y ria n s in Egypt found i t hard to b e lie v e th at Musa was a n a tiv e Egyptian because o f h is radical opinions. Perhaps the c la s s ic example o f a nineteenth century European-educated reformer to whom Musa stands in sharp c o n tra st is R ifa * ah R a f i' a l-T a h t a w i (18011873). Al-Tahtawi*8 fiv e years in Paris influenced him gre a tly , and his proposals fo r g i r ls ' education and for the concept o f an Egyptian nation, among oth ers, were novel in Egypt. Nevertheless, al-Tahtaw i's purpose was to strengthen the indigenous t r a d it i o n by s e le c t iv e borrowing rather than to start anew. 2. H ilary K ilpatrick, The Modern Egyptian Novel; A Study in S o c ia l C r it ic is m (Londons Ith aca P ress, 1974), p. 12. 3. R i f ' a t a l - S a 'i d , w r i t i n g a s y m p a th e tic account o f Musa's r o le in e a r ly Egyptian s o c i a l i s t h isto ry , remarked in frustration that no other w riter had confused him as Musa had. See h is Ta*rikh a l-F ik r a l - I s h t i r a k i f i Miar (C airo : Dar al-T h a q a fa h a l Jadidah, 1969), p. 246. 4. Much has been w ritte n on the ^Tew C lass" in recen t y e a rs, but the term has not alw ay s been used w ith the same meaning. The most useful treatment fo r the purpose o f t h is study is the l i t t l e book by the l a t e A lv in Gouldner, The Future o f I n t e ll e c t u a l s and the Rise o f the New Class (New York and Toronto: Oxford U n iversity Press, 19551 F irs t published by The Seabury Press as A Continuum Bdok, New York, 1979). The set o f " t h e s e s " w h ich co m p rise t h i s book i s a u s e f u l contribution to an understanding o f how in te lle c tu a ls, both in in d u stria l and p rein du strial so cieties, become alienated from the so cial status quo by th e ir education d e s p it e t h e ir often having s o c ia l o r ig in s in c la s s e s w ith p ro p e rty advantages. Gouldner argues in e ff e c t xv

t h a t th e i n t e l l e c t u a l s (t h e h u m a n ists ) and th e i n t e l l i g e n t s i a (the te c h n ic ia n s) form a s in g le c la s s , a lb e it with internal contradictions, because o f th eir t r a in in g in c r i t i c a l thought, t h e ir c h a r a c t e r is t ic porpertyless vocation, and th eir attitude toward both the bourgeoisie and the workers. Gouldner^s work has several problems. I t is not c le a r , f o r example, what " c la s s in t e r e s t s " would s u f f i c i e n t l y unite American and S o v ie t in t e lle c t u a ls (o r , f o r t h a t m a tte r, an e n g in e e r and a h i s t o r y p r o f e s s o r a t any f i n a n c i a l l y s t r a p p e d A m erican u n iv e r s it y ) to a llo w them to cooperate in ach ievin g those in terests. His model of the New Class, however, conforms to Musa's case in rem arkable d e t a i l ; more important, i t conforms to Musa's conception o f the new e l i t e which he expected to come to power in Egypt and in the world. That conception was shaped by the Fabian Society, as we sh a ll see. 5. G o u ld n er, F u tu re , p. 32. F or a f u r t h e d is c u s s io n o f t h is p oin t see h i s The D i a le c t ic o f Id e o lo g y and Technology (New York and Toronto: Oxford U niversity Press, 1^82. F irst published by The Seabury P re s s as A Oontinuum Book, New York, 1976), pp. 202206.

xvi

PART I.

1887-1919

CHAPTER 1 THE MAKING OF A RADICAL The experiences o f Musa's youth were not typical o f most Egyptians in his generation, and served to set him a p a rt from h is peers. Born in to the m inority Coptic community, he became a member o f progressively s m a lle r m in o ritie s d efin ed by educational attainment and exposure to fo re ig n i n t e l l e c t u a l cu rre n ts and s o c ia l practices. Musa would remark in his la te r years th at most o f h is enduring i n t e l le c t u a l in t e r e s t s and i d e o l o g i c a l commitments were formed in h is youth by exposure to these influences, whose e ffe c t was to make him p rogressively more c r it ic a l o f Egyptian s o c ia l and c u lt u r a l l i f e . Three major determ inants o f Musa's r a d i c a l i z a t i o n were the s o c ia l upheavals w ith in the Coptic community which re s u lte d in a d e c lin e in the p r e s t i g e and c r e d i b i l i t y o f th e e c c l e s i a s t i c a l a u t h o r it e s ; Musa's d isco v ery o f new i n t e l le c t u a l h o r iz o n s in th e S y r ia n -E g y p t ia n p r e s s ; and h i s p articip atio n in dissident and avant-garde in te lle c tu a l c ir c le s in Europe. The Copts in Transition Musa was not c e rta in o f th e y ear .o f h is birth._ but heThougnt tnai i t WAS probably ibu/. He was born in t o a C o p tic "fa m ily in Zaqaziq, a c i t y e s ta b lis h e d o n ly a h a lf-c e n t u r y e a r l i e r as cotton c u lt iv a t io n spread to the eastern N ile delta during Muhammad 'A l i 's reign. During Musa's childhood the city was a th riving com m ercial cen ter o f some 30,000 person s, the c h ie f market o f the Egyptian cotton and g r a in tra d e . Many European merchants had o f f i c e s there, and the la rg e cotton f a c t o r i e s gave p a rts o f the town an "alm ost European appearance."2 Musa's family , the %A fiy , was among the f i r s t to s e t t l e in Zaqaziq. HTsTqre'at-gr and fa t h e r hag come t o a i-Sharqivah provi fT~orn iß—Middle..Egypt when tTQhammad l A li li f t e d certain sumptuary laws which had fre e h iSBofle'd fln''Tfie^jOop ts. F in a l ly ab le t o t r a v e 1 fre e ly , the great-grandfather r e ft an area which had" a T a rg e minority o f“7B'pts, “and T ravelled to the f r o n t ie r d is t r ic t '"öf aJL-fc>narqiyah, a_s rnany^ other Copts did about t h e same LlUie. Th g fáTftÍTv~tHr i ved’ in l t s n~ew~setting, Trima'y g ran d fath er owned a la r g e amount o f p ro p erty , and Musa's father l e f t behind an estate o f 100 feddans 3

(abo u t 105 a c re s ) a t h is death even though as head clerk o f the provin cial o ffic e he took home the modest monthly salary o f L.E. 7.5 (equal to about eight pounds s t e r lin g ). Such an estate would not place a fam ily in the catego ry o f landed w ealth , but i t d id make i t s members w e ll-to -d o . For four years Musa attended C h r i s t i a n and Muslim r e l i g i o u s schools in which the~-ma4or- o b j e c t ! v e was the m e m o r i z a t io n o f p r a y e r s and r e l j gi