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View Diary: Egypt--Here's What I Know (114 comments)

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  •  As an Egyptologist (12+ / 0-)

    the destruction of the cultural heritage is particularly shocking.  It has been that shared pride, no matter the heritage, and the source of great imported wealth that made it from the top of society down to the lower levels.  It supported a middle class that was outward looking and educated and interested in interactions with the rest of the world, while often frustrated with paternalism from external constituencies.  However, things like the looking of the Minya Museum (1040 of 1089 objects on display were taken last night, many of the rest, too big to move, were damaged, the security guard shot and killed, the director wounded, and the building with its remaining artefacts burned today) and the destruction of the sites will have ramifications for tourism and heritage for the rest of eternity (and no I am not exaggerating).  This has been getting progressively worse over the past several years, but without a working police system it has skyrocketed.  

    I know there are thousands of people dead, and that is horrific.  But there are a lot of benefits to tourism and foreigners on the ground in Egypt.  Without tourism the society will become even more stratified, and without the influx of money into even small towns that an archaeological project provides (thousands and thousands of dollars, even at the smallest scale, paid directly to villagers for working, food, housing, etc.) there are ramifications beyond the disasters in the cities.  

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