Wednesday,19 June, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1182, (30 January - 5 February 2014)
Wednesday,19 June, 2019
Issue 1182, (30 January - 5 February 2014)

Ahram Weekly

And the Sphinx still stands…

It took place in the still of the early morning hours! The city was quiet, dark and chill!  Only a few passers-by crept slowly under cover of the morning mist.  Suddenly, war broke out!

A deafening explosion in the heart of the land shook the very foundation of its capitol.

It was not the first time --- it would not be the last!

The horrific, steady blasts on street corners, train stations, gas stations, private clubs, public institutions, theatres, universities, market-places, churches and mosques have become regular fare on our daily menus, a constant reminder that our battle against terrorism rages on!

The infernal devastation was damnable and demonic! Tragic indeed is the needless loss of lives, but just as tragic is the erosion of our legacy, our culture and our history. The fickle, faithless and mindless perpetrators have demolished, for the second time, priceless treasures unique to this ancient land.

Our first great loss was the Coptic Museum at Mallawi that contained unequalled riches of this old-age culture. Now we lament the destruction of the Egyptian Museum of Islamic Art, which conserved the prized collection of exquisite art objects, considered by experts as the finest in the world. Over 1100 pieces collected throughout the Muslim era from over 17 countries.

Egypt is at war!  It is a vicious, pernicious war, waged from within and without; in the air and on the ground. Funded by rich-oil empires and Western powers, these traitors are loyal only to the gods of evil and ignorance. We stand alone in our solitary fight against global terrorism. For a thousand and one days and a thousand and one nights we have buried our dead, wiped our tears, and rose again, filled with renewed faith and resolve.

We have no choice! We have been endowed with the gift of patience and endurance. While other civilisations have come and gone, Egypt still stands erect! It smiles, it grows, it prospers!

We are the people of Egypt!  We are survivors!

Still mourning our losses, millions and millions with lion-hearts, filled every square, street and alley of every city, town and village on January 25, to observe the 3rd anniversary of our historic revolution. It was not a true celebration, for hearts were heavy with grief. It was a reminder to the world that this nation knows not how to kneel, bend or break.

We huddled together in our liberation squares, embracing, cheering, crying. We drowned our sorrows in a moment of triumph. Egyptians were giving notice to the brutal, fanatic terrorists, to the great powers of the West to its biased, deceptive media and to the extremist empires of black gold, to bring on their worst. Egypt shall prevail! Egypt shall protect and preserve its legacy and its history for generations to come; for time immemorial!

Is it therefore any wonder that we possess the very characteristics of our immortal monument of the mysterious and mystical Sphinx? Perhaps it is the Sphinx that shares our unique features of patience and endurance!

Like the immortal monument, in the sovereign people of Egypt dwells the majesty of self-assurance and self-worth!

Like the Sphinx of old, they are only overcome by magnanimous disdain of its enemies and adversaries!

For 5000 years the Sphinx sits and still sits, with its steadfast gaze, somnolent and magnificent, luxuriating in the thousands of centuries of silvery moons, and the thousands of centuries of blazing suns!

It has defied the damp and dreadful dews of black nights, dark, desert storms and wicked, swirling whirl-winds!   

With the head of a nobleman and the body of a lion, the mission of the Sphinx is to guard the tombs and temples of its forefathers.

It has stood tongue-less and song-less guarding the secrets of the land of Aton and Amon, the august and timeless pyramids, the whisperings of Isis and Osiris. It sits patiently watching the journey of the dead into eternal life, for to its ancestors there is no death!

The Sphinx has watched the mighty waters of the river gently flow, cherished by endless rows of swaying palms that cool its brow in the burning sun.

To this day no one knows who built the Sphinx or to whom it belongs? Experts are baffled but have no answers. Its secret remains unsolved, adding to its magic and mystique!

Did it just rise from the solid rock? Did the ancient gods dispatch their divine carvers to install an eternal guard to ensure the safety and immortality of this land?

The cruel march of Time cannot trample on it, or mar its magnificence!

Like the Sphinx the people of Egypt have withstood the test of time, of troubles and of terrorists.  They have paid with their “blood, sweat and tears”, and they too “shall never surrender”.

Much like the majesty of the Sphinx, a new leader was born with visions of Egypt’s greatness dancing in his eyes. An army general, Sisi seemed to come out of nowhere, to capture the imagination and fulfill the dream of every Egyptian, dead or alive.

He too possesses the head of a noble man and the heart and body of a lion! By some blessed act of Nature, he came to rebuild and renew the hope and glory of this great nation.

He shall lead it out of an age of darkness, into the light of a thousand brilliant days!

“Sorrow and silence are strong and patient endurance is godlike!”   

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882).

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