The other Islamist threat: Looting history
There's more at stake in post-Mubarak Egypt than matters exclusively of the moment or Egyptian: Mankind's ancient cultural heritage is being destructively looted amid lawlessness under the Islamist regime of President Mohamed Morsy.
Forbidden by Islam, grave-robbing nevertheless has exploded since Egypt's 2011 revolution. The Great Sphinx and Pyramids of Giza remain intact, despite one Salafi radical's call last November for their destruction — a la the Taliban's 2001 dynamiting of ancient Buddha statues in Afghanistan. But a Trib examination found human bones, mummified body parts, wooden coffins and broken limestone sarcophagi scattered about three other Egyptian antiquities sites ravaged by looting.
Some archaeologists privately say Mr. Morsy's government has ignored the looting; those who speak up find themselves targets of threats. Though more Egyptian police and soldiers lately have been protecting some sites, antiquities' legitimate economic value for tourism seems lost on the regime.
Some Egyptians view their ancient ancestors as pagans unworthy of undisturbed graves. Some impoverished villagers loot to survive economically. Armed criminal gangs play a major role, as does black-market demand. Sites never properly studied or catalogued are being stripped of precious, irreplaceable artifacts.
This irreparable damage, squandering and forever despoiling humanity's shared cultural legacy, is a painful reminder of just how far the consequences of today's turmoil can extend.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances
- The Kathleen Kane chronicles: New and serious questions are being raised about the Pa. attorney general
- Greensburg Laurels & Lances
- Alle-Kiski Laurels & Lances
- Union ‘fairness’: The dues racket
- THE BOX
- Pension reform should not be linked to a natural gas extraction tax
- The gift
- Election 2015: Local leaders needed
- Season of giving: A deserving recipient
- The Thursday wrap