Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rebels With a Cause

Rise and shine at 4:30 this morning!!! It was all part of the plan to beat Re at his own game. First stop of the day was the colossi of Amenhotep III. These were the statues of Amenhotep III & Queen Tiye.It was a little difficult to tell because their faces were pretty much gone due to time.

Hatshepsut’s temple at Deir El-Bahri designed by Senenmut was the next stop of the day. I find her accomplishments as pharaoh during her reign to be incredulous. This is especially because there was no female who had ever taken the reigns of what was known to be a man’s job at that time. Her temple was an example of how they tried to erase her out of history by scratching her out of most of the wall drawings.

Next, it is what I have been waiting for since the Cairo Museum- the Valley of the Kings!!! We went into King Tut’s tomb, Ramases III’s, Thutmosis II’s, and Ramases IX’s.

Seeing King Tut’s tomb really did not help in giving me a viable explanation to where all the treasures we saw at the Cairo Museum were originally found. In fact, it added to my disbelief. The tomb is way to small to fit everything we saw at the museum, but unfathomably it did. We also saw King Tut’s mummy itself. It had to be taken out of the coffin and placed in a glass case because it was too weak to be moved. This is due to Howard Carter, who uncovered the tomb. It took him ten years to find it and five years to take all the treasures out. In the process of doing this he searched Tut’s mummy for pieces of gold, amulets, and other jewelry, resulting in the further weakening of the body.

Ramases III’s tomb was a little more complex than Tut’s and it was definitely bigger. The key thing about his tomb was that it depicted the table of races and therefore delineated how the Egyptians viewed themselves in comparison to the rest of the world. Did they consider themselves to be African? According to the pictures on the wall, they sure did!! Also, on both walls on either side of the tomb when you first walk in you see his declaration of innocence, which was a written depiction of his character-another key aspect of his tomb.

Thutmosis III’s tomb was unnecessarily overly complex. Before you even go into his tomb, you have to climb some very steep stairs that lead into a mountain. Then to enter his tomb, you go down another flight of stairs that were also steep which lead you to one room which connects the last room with a very small, steep staircase that is perfect for those who are vertically challenged. The last room has a coffin and hieroglyphs filled the walls in both rooms. These hieroglyphs were questionable in my eyes because they were unlike the other previous paintings on the walls we have seen. They looked primitive and unlike what we normally expect from the Egyptians. It seemed they were drawn with a Sharpie marker and they were stick figures. Dr. Carr’s explanation of this is these were earlier works that date back to the 1500’s and 1400’s.

Ramases IX’s tomb structure was pretty simple. This is probably due to the fact that it was unfinished. The last stops of the day were the worker’s village for the workers of Deir Al-Bahari Temple and Ra-Moses’ tomb. It is hard to believe the village was even a a real village at some point that housed 400 workers.

The biggest issue of the the day was the limitation on our ability to take pictures inside the tombs. Most of the day we were instructed to leave our cameras on the bus. Now if we really want to take pictures, we are going to find a way. We are African. It is in our blood to resist, esp. those limitations imposed on us that have no business being imposed. If you do not believe me, look at slavery. There were a couple of incidents where security tried to hold us down, figuratively. The first incident was in King Tut’s tomb where the “security guard" (I use that term loosely) clearly took 20 pounds ($4.00 U.S.) from a white man and allowed him to take a picture or two but literally got in our face at the slightest sound or hint of light. The other incident occurred at Ramases IX’s tomb where yet again one of my peers was accused of taking pictures. This time the “security” confiscated his phone and took him to the head of their joke of a department. As usual, Dr. Carr did what he does best and handled the situation. The point of the matter is that these incidents should have never occurred in the first place because these people have no right to restrict us from any means we take to feel close to our people. They are making a business on the backs of our ancestors which is just so disrespectful. But, I bet you are wondering if we really did commit these crimes we were accused of. Well, I will let you come to your own conclusion on the topic. All I suggest is that you keep in mind that we are African.

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