Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ancient glory still felt in modern Egypt

International Herald Tribune

Deep below the Egyptian desert, archaeologists have found evidence of yet another pyramid, this one constructed 4,300 years ago to store the remains of a pharaoh's mother. That makes 138 pyramids discovered here so far, and officials say they expect to find more.

Tourists will, no doubt, care.

Egyptians probably will not, unless they work in tourism.

But for citizens and foreigners alike, there is no escaping the truth that Egypt is inextricably linked in the public consciousness with pyramids, especially the Great Pyramids of Giza. The nation's premier newspaper is called Al Ahram, or The Pyramids. Egypt's best-known research center is the Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies.

Yet living in the shadow of past greatness is not always easy.

The pyramids are proof of Egypt's endurance and what distinguishes it from modern confections, like Saudi Arabia, a nation founded 76 years ago, named after a family and built on oil wealth. But these monuments to Egypt's early ingenuity are also an ever-present symbol of faded glory. It is hard to escape comparisons between an Egypt that once led the world in almost everything and modern Egypt, where about 40 percent of the population lives on $2 a day.

See the above page for the full story.

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