Centuries of Egypt in Our Minds and In Our Imaginations

Posted on January 28, 2011

In reviewing the blogs and photos for Egypt’s “Day of Anger” in Algazeera, January 27, one photo of a police officer struck me with its strong echoes of Egypt’s past.  He could have been found in a tomb painting.

Egypt is the oldest established Arab government.  The world knows more about this country than perhaps any other aside from Greece because of it’s long history and its vaunted place as that part of the world from which all mankind emerged.

The images we have seen in text books and in the National Geographic have reverently presented us with Egypt’s important past at the crossroads of the world.  Not even Ancient China looms so large in our psyche.

When we think of Alexandria, we think of the seat of ancient culture with the great library that was destroyed by fire in ancient times.  We know that the Nile was the road taken by people from the time of Moses through that of present-day by tourists.

It is all so familiar that hundreds of Americans have donated millions of dollars to preserve Egyptian antiquities and to return many from American museums.  At the Metropolitan Art Gallery in New York City, a cavernous glass wing was built especially to house a small temple rescued by concerned citizens.

The colorful tales of the pharaohs on the tomb walls, the devastating stories of exile of the Israelites under their power from the Bible – all attest to a kind of timelessness that only floats easily in the desert air.

It was not difficult to find an image from a tomb wall that could have been our soldier above.  Yes, he could have been a pharaoh.

May Egypt – the world’s Egypt – avoid a leveling storm from which it would take unknown time to emerge.