Tuesday, April 11, 2006

An Explosive Mistake?

"When Luxor residents, accustomed to their quiet Upper Egypt evenings, woke up to the sound of explosives last month, many had flashbacks to the 1990s, when the city was frequently attacked by terrorists. Justifiably horrified, they ran out of their homes only to find that the cause of the big bangs was just a party being hosted by a travel agency outside the walls of Luxor Temple.
The agency had thought up a brilliant idea to entertain tourists: What better than to illuminate the regal fa├žade of the temple with a display of fireworks? At an ensuing People’s Assembly session, three PA members grilled the officials from the Ministry of Culture and the Supreme Council for Antiquities (SCA) for allowing the party to happen. Some MPs went so far as to claim the display endangered the ancient walls of one of Luxor’s most important landmarks.
For his part, SCA chief Zahi Hawass admitted to the press that the agency had procured the necessary permits to hold its event outside the walls of the temple, but denied knowledge of the fireworks and announced that the travel agency was out of line. He pointed out that the Antiquities Police had already filed a report against the agency on March 4, a day before the PA session in question took place."

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