Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Luxor’s Sphinx Avenue paved with local residents’ bitter memories

The Daily Star, Lebanon (Cam McGrath)

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.


Ian Wilson-Hart said...

Sad state if affairs. Was told that Samir Farag was behind bars. So what now for the redevelopment? Not progress at all, and as i've had a long time interest in Egyptology, I do not see any benefit to digging up the avenue when layers of history have been lost too. Shame lessons haven't been learnt from historian when it comes to excavating sites!

Ian Wilson-Hart said...

Apologies for text errors. Mainly due to iPhone auto correction. Should be "from history".
Just to add. Not many in Luxor have positive comments to make on the changes. Too many lives irreversibly altered and ruined in the name of progress.