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Does this signal a shift in self perception of Egyptian identity?

Reader comment on item: L'Institut d'Égypte – In Memoriam

Submitted by Shishir (United Arab Emirates), Dec 28, 2011 at 04:41

Since at least the Napoleonic conquest of Egypt and the subsequent mostly Western craze regarding ancient Egypt, native Egyptians have often sought to emphasize their pre Arab Islamic Pharaonic heritage rather than their traditional Islamic present.So much so that Naghuib Mahfouz remarked that around the early 1900s pseudo Paganism under an Islamic garb with black magic ,worship of saints,graves and other heteredox rituals were on the rise in the country side while traditional Islam was in the decline...To speak nothing of the rapidly Westernizing urban Egyptians who viewed Islam like modern day Englishmen view their Anglican faith -a quaint and useful device to facilitate a sense of gravitas and traiditon at christenings,marriages and death but not to be taken too seriously

To those who never understood how Egyptians could claim to be Pharaonic and Arab at the same time!Dont fret , clumsy Arab propagandists came up with an answer - the Pharaonic Egyptians were really a long lost Arab tribe!Though oddly they did show the same enthusiasm for the monothiest Akhenaton as a proto Mosaic figure that later Christians had.

When I visited Egypt in 2003 as tourist ,in all the tours that explained the history of Egypt,They barely ever mentioned Jews/Isralites.Sure, the place where Moses was drawn out by the Princess(now a well) was identified but Moses was never introduced as a Jew ,neither was Jesus or Mary were refered to as Jews.Their quarters where they stayed during their flight from Herod.Indeed both were hinted to be proto Muslim as per the Quranic custom.

Once and only once were Jews/Israelites mentioned and that was when we were shown the Merneptah Stele-where there was a passing ,derisive mention of rabble of unruly nomadic tribes called Israel(though some Egyptologists question the phonetics/hieroglyphics of that word )

Another guide told me how the Israelites stole from the Egyptians as they were departing Egypt according to the book of Exodus.There was some crackpot sheikh in Switzerland who even demanded the wealth back(with interests-he calculated the present value to a steal at 64 trillion dollars-helpfully he said that modern day Israel could pay Egypt in installments)

Lets not get into the semi deranged Zahi Hawass,Director of Egyptian Antiquities and his bizarre conspiratorial theories on the Jews.

Not to mention that ridiculous museum dedicated to the "victory" of the 1973 Yom Kippur/Ramadhan war.

When you have educated,Westernized Egyptians having such retrograde views-one shudders to speculate of what the hoi polloi think!

Such illiterate ,ignorant and prejudiced views of their own history is a combination of religious Muslim Brotherhood and secular Arab nationalism indoctrination(though according some like VS Naipaul and Anwar Shaik Islam itself is a form of Arab nationalism/imperialism)

Since the Brotherhood slowly took over civil society after Anwar Sadats Faustian (and ultimately suicidal) bargain in the 70s ,Egyptians had started viewing their pre Islamic past with some discomfort. However seeing how tourism revenues are a major part of Egypts economy ,they had no choice to swallow their Muslim pride and play along ( very few toursts come to listen to lectures at Al Azhar University)

Now the Islamic genie with its destructive hunger for kafir monuments has been unleashed and seems that any identification with Pharaonic Egypt is definitely dead. If there is any whacky Gingrich type plan to airlift the Pyramids, Egyptian museum and the Valley of Kings to a more placid area, then by God lets try it!

Submitting....

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