Extremist calls for destruction of Egyptian antiquities
I took a long stroll through the cavernous Egyptian Museum, just off Tahrir Square, this month.
It was the first time I went though the museum without breathless Egyptologists yanking me around, impatient children or a looming deadline.
The place was packed, not with tourists, but mostly with Egyptian schoolchildren. They were led around by amazingly patient guides explaining the most minute of details about every little bit and piece on display.
A few of the schoolchildren weren't listening very closely, but most were paying attention. They clearly did feel a connection, at some level, with these ancient pharaonic artifacts. And not surprisingly. They must have recognized, in those ancient faces, their ancestors.
Certainly, if you look closely at some of the more lifelike statues, you will see faces identical to the faces you see every day here.
There are some in Egypt, however, who seem hell bent on repudiating, indeed destroying, the link between Egypt's distant past and its messy present.
Morgan Al-Gohary, a jihadi sheikh with a history of radicalism, appeared on the private Egyptian TV channel Dream TV 2 Saturday evening and declared that if he and his ilk ever came to power, they would not hesitate to destroy the Sphinx and the pyramids.
He's no stranger to the notion of vandalizing ancient artifacts, boasting to the show's host, Wael Al-Abrashi, that while in Afghanistan, he took part along with the Taliban in the demolition of the Bamyan Buddhas in March 2001.
His threat was met by Al-Abrashi and the other two guests with shock. Just to be clear, Al-Abrashi asked the same question three times.
Al-Abrashi: "Am I going to wake up tomorrow to find that, just as you did with the statue of Buddha, that you have demolished the Sphinx and the pyramids?"
Al-Gohary: "That is dependent upon abilities and possibility. According to our Sharia, every pagan and idol must be destroyed."
Al-Abrashi: "If you are in power, will you destroy the Sphinx and the pyramids and all the pharoanic statues and all the pharoanic artifacts?"
Al-Gohary: "Everything, if it is a pagan statue or idol, that is worshiped or suspected to be worshipped, or is worshipped by one person on Earth, must be destroyed. We, or someone else, must destroy it."
Al-Abrashi: "So you would destroy the Sphinx and the pyramids?"
Al-Gohary: "Yes, we will destroy them, if they were worshipped before or afterwards."
One of the guests, writer Nabil Sharaf Al-Din, seemed repulsed by this and told the sheikh: "You don't know the history of your country well. Those pharaohs were the first to know religion in the world." The Sphinx and the pyramids, he continued, "are mankind's heritage and not the property of Egyptians alone. They are the property of all mankind."
The sheikh was unswayed.
Al-Gohari's threat inspired Cairo's prolific blogger, known simply as Zeinobia, to write a blog on her website, egyptianchronicles.blogspot.com, titled "Visit the pyramids while you can!!"
The Egyptian Revolution, born in rapture and enthusiasm, now resembles Pandora's box. Hope sprang forth, but so did extremism, demagoguery, crime, disorder and fear. And no one has come up with a way to put them all back in the box.
In the days of Hosni Mubarak, everyone knew the extremists lurked on the dark, outer fringes of Egyptian society, but most kept a low profile, were behind bars or holed up in Afghanistan or Pakistan. In the new Egypt, they've come out of their cells and back from exile, and like Al-Gohary, rant on national television or make inflammatory speeches in Tahrir Square.
Egyptians have heard this all before -- that the pyramids and the Sphinx are pagan monuments and idols, and must therefore must be destroyed. There was a widespread rumor last year that a Salafi (ultraconservative Muslim) leader was advocating covering the monuments in wax but that proved to be spurious.
It's no secret, however, that the extremists here don't like what these ancient monuments represent -- proof that magnificent human achievement is not the monopoly of any one religion or race.
In fact, Al-Gohary is not the first one to call for the destruction of Egypt's ancient landmarks.
Back in 1378, an equally zealous Muslim mystic took offense at the Sphinx and took it upon himself to try and demolish it. There are several versions of what happened next. Some stories say a flash flood ensued, and villagers, fearing a pharaonic curse, promptly lynched him. Other accounts say he was charged with vandalism and subsequently executed.
The point is that the Sphinx, minus its nose, is still here. - CNN
Ancient Egypt: Tales of Gods and Pharaohs
Egyptian Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Goddesses, and Traditions of Ancient Egypt
The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt
Wolf Attack: Russian Granny Fights Off Beast
A woman from a village in southern Russia fought off a wolf with her bare hands and killed it with an axe. Aishat Maksudova, from Novo Biryuzyak village in the Dagestan region, was in a group of villagers herding cows and sheep.
The 56-year-old heard the cry of a calf being attacked and rushed to scare off the wolf but it turned on her. "I was not even frightened. I stood like this, holding an axe like this. And the wolf, with an open mouth suddenly jumped on me. Jumped like that. The wolf clawed at my leg and I wanted to hit him with the axe," Ms Maksudova said.
In a reversal of the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale where a granddaughter saves her grandmother from being eaten by a wolf, this Russian grandmother took fate in her own hands. "When I raised my arm up like this, the wolf was just holding my hand. Trying to claw my hand. I wanted to open his mouth and put my fist all the way there, all the way to his throat. But I could not open him.
"So I just left my hand, and the wolf was just clawing into it, pulling on it, pulling away like this. And then I took the axe and hit him on his head," she said. Ms Maksudova needed hospital treatment after being bitten. Her fellow villagers have vowed to hunt down other wolves in the area. - Sky
Reward offered to evict thieving railway station monkeys
Authorities at Chittorgarh railway station in India's northwestern Rajasthan state have offered a cash reward of Rs 20,000 (£230, $365) for anyone who can outsmart about 15 monkeys who have made the railway station their home. The railway station is located about 360 km from state capital Jaipur. The reward was announced as the railway authorities had tried to "evict" the monkeys, but failed. At their wits' end, and with no help from the forest department, the authorities decided to "outsource" the job.
"There were just a couple of monkeys initially. Their mischief on the platform was initially ignored. But then there was quite a proliferation of them. And now, after a few months, we have about 15 monkeys. And they have become quite a nuisance," said an official at the railway station. "There's nothing the monkeys don't want. They don't hesitate to snatch mobile phones from passengers. They snatch food items, bags and other luggage," the harried official said.
Sounding like he was almost a little in awe of the simian troupe, the officer said: "They are an intelligent bunch. It is almost as if they understand announcements on the platforms. Soon as an announcement goes out on the public address system, they appear on the platform ready to snatch what they can find. And the passengers are more interested in boarding the train than dealing with monkeys. Sometimes there are three or four mobile phones at the same time ringing on the station roof."
Railway officials had initially sought the help of the forest department, but even they could not help end the monkey menace. The railway official explained that the cash award will only go to someone who can find a lasting solution to the problem. "He or she would have to ensure that the monkeys are left at such a far away place that they do not return," he said. - Times of India
Mexico: Official Report on the Popocatepetl "Bolide"
INFORMATIVE NOTE ON THE IMAGES OF A LUMINOUS OBJECT OVER THE POPOCATEPETL VOLCANO ON 25 OCTOBER 2012
Secretaria de Gobernación (SEGOB)
Sistema Nacional de Protección Civil
At 20:44 hours on 25 October, CENAPRED's cameras, located at the Altzomoni Station for continuous virtual monitoring of the Popocatepetl Volcano recorded the manifestation and transit of a luminous signal, intensely bright, in the upper left hand quadrant of the image, moving at great speed, increasing its brightness, and apparently introducing itself into the volcano's crater (Figure 1a). The presence of this signal in the image has an approximate duration of 3 seconds.
The CENAPRED's camera at Altzomoni is located 11 kilometers from the Popocatepetl Volcano's crater, and a few meters away from where the Televisa corporation has installed another camera on which similar images were recorded and rebroadcast on the "Noticiero con Joaquin Lopez Doriga" program on the night of Friday the 25th (Figure 1b). It should be noted that differences in shape, length, shadows and brightness between the images taken by the CENAPRED camera and the Televisa camera are related with technical aspects particular to each item of equipment, mainly their resolution. Moreover, the framing in the case of the CENAPRED images is much more open, while the Televisa camera is much more light sensitive. Continue reading at INEXPLICATA-THE JOURNAL OF HISPANIC UFOLOGY - Scott Corrales
Chile: "Friendship" and Its Collateral Effects
One of the most perplexing cases to ever come out of Latin America in recent decades has been known as the “Friendship” case – a mixture of encounters, audio recordings and sightings of strange characters, largely human, who claim to belong to “The Friendship” - identified by some as space aliens, Nazi survivalists by others, and even Protestant missionaries from North America. We have presented articles on Friendship since the 1990s, when Josep Guijarro visited the Chile and kindly allowed us to translate his findings for the INEXPLICATA Journal. Today, thanks to our friends at NOUFA, we share with our readers the latest information in the form of a series of letter and essays on this compelling subject – Scott Corrales
Go to Chile: "Friendship" and Its Collateral Effects and read this fascinating report!
Chupacabras and Other Mysteries - I highly recommend Scott Corrales' book
Phantoms & Monsters: Cryptid Encounters