Tuesday, 24 July 2012

See the Pyramids While They're Still There

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If you ever wanted to go and see the pyramids, don't delay because they may not be there forever.
The familiar site of the triangular mountains of stone in the Egyptian desert is something we take for granted. They were listed as among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Along with Cleopatra and Tutankhamun, they are synonymous with Egypt and part of its identity. Agatha Christie went there and set one of her most famous Hercule Poirot mystery stories there: Death on the Nile. Egpyt without the pyramids would be like Pimms without ice. But it is by no means certain that these tombs of the Pharaohs will always be there for any of us to go and see. Yes, they provide a huge tourist attraction but there are people to whom economic arguments are not paramount. Now that the Arab Spring has brought Islamic fundamentalists to power in Egypt, a big question mark hangs over the massive triangular mountains of stone.

When a devout Sheikh from Bahrain sent a message to the new Egyptian government asking them if and when they intended to pull down the pyramids, he was not just an isolated eccentric. The Egyptian Salafi party has long advocated getting rid of them or, ludicrously, covering them with wax (which in those temperatures might not last 24hours) The destruction of all pre-Islamic and non-Islamic buildings and monuments is actually a tenet of Islam and is orthodox. Allowing them to remain is classified as "haram" i.e. deadly sin, That's why the amazing ancient Buddhist cliff carvings at Bamiyan in Afghanistan were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. They regarded these ancient statues of Buddha as "idols" not as works of art or cultural monuments. They did not give a damn that some Westerners had labelled Bamiyan a World Cultural Heritage site, but blew up the whole lot using dynamite.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhas_of_Bamiyan

The same thing is happening right now in Mali with the the ancient temples and tombs of the city of Timbuktu. Yes, Timbuktu really exists, it is not just a word in a nursery rhyme, but very soon it might as well never have existed because its archeological monuments are being systematically dismantled and destroyed by Islamic fanatics of the Ansar Dine party. Ansar Dine is not terribly impressed by the fact that Unesco has designated these things Grade A heritage priorities. What is Unesco? Is it in the Koran? Ah, well, in that case...
http://digitaljournal.com/article/327741

It is recorded that earlier Muslim rulers of Egypt made many attempts to demolish the pyramids, and left scars on them but lacked the logistical capability to annihilate them. With the advance of science, that capability is now not in doubt. Doubtless a small nuclear device would do the trick.

I very much hope that all these reports turn out to be sensational hoaxes put about by rabid Islamophobics who have nothing better to do than organize a press conspiracy. [Don't forget to call them racist.] But just in case, just to be on the safe side, I think I will nip over to Egypt pretty soon and have a squint at the pyramids. After all, you never know.
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