Mohammad Saeed’s battle with a wrecking crew ended predictably. His refusal to leave the home his grandfather built and defiant attempts to throw himself in front of the giant hydraulic hammer bought his family some time, but by the end of the day their two-storey house was reduced to rubble.
“The government came one morning and told us to leave,” Saeed recalls. “They said we could pick up our [compensation] money at the bank. When we asked where we were expected to go on this little amount, the man said ‘anywhere but here’.”
Saeed, a souvenir shop employee, was one of thousands of Luxor residents forced from their homes to make way for a controversial tourism development plan. The project aims to transform Luxor, a southern Egyptian city of 400,000 built over the world’s richest collection of antiquities, into a vast open-air museum. The master plan envisions new roads, five-star hotels, glitzy shops, and an IMAX theater.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Luxor’s Sphinx Avenue paved with local residents’ bitter memories
The Daily Star, Lebanon (Cam McGrath)