Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim, Minister of Antiquities, said and confirmed that the armed forces have stationed armoured vehicles in different parts of the country to secure sites since Monday night including Luxor temple, Karnak temples, Abu Fana monastery in Mallawi, museum storage in Bahnsa and the Nubian museum in Aswan.
This happened after receiving threats from extremist groups to attack,rob and vandalise different sites. All the sites now are totally secured.
That was an official statement by the Minister of Antiquities, when we received it so we wanted to check in the ground and provide photos for our readers but what we found was completely different.
We went to Karnak temple first after an hour from receiving the Minister’ statement, nearly 1:30pm. There were no army or armoured vehicles at all in sight unlike how it was in January 2011, security was as normal, a Police car at the entrance of the parking.
We walked towards the tickets window from the Corniche side to find it closed. Walked into the visitors centre and it was so quiet till we managed to find the ticket man who said there were only 52 visitors today including 5 Egyptians and 20 foreign primary school students beside one bus from Hurghada for the first time since last Wednesday.
We got a ticket and walked around the temple to the far ends in all directions and no one beside few inspectors were sitting at the entrance or the guards laying on the ground trying to get some rest other than that, we had the temple for ourselves and it was so quiet like a ghost town including the bag that gets blown by the mild wind and the birds flying at our sight as it is not so peaceful for them anymore.
We even walked though till we got into areas where there should be no entry as excavation work still going but the paths were not blocked and the blocks were everywhere. Also as what happens when a town get deserted over night, tools and equipment were left in situ unattended.
No one at all stopped us and if we wanted we could have even moved blocks or fragments around.
The videos below shows every second of our adventure which continued in Luxor temple where the guards were totally asleep that one of them were snoring and didn’t even feel us and the other had the radio on the news of Cairo next to him.
We need to mention here that we don’t want the poor guards to get told off or an inspector or one of the staff to get a deduction of their wage.
We have no doubt that local Egyptian people are the true guards of their own history and even with no armoured vehicles in sight, they will stop anyone who would try to destroy their heritage because that’s a part of the Egyptian people’s identity.
The point is to tell Mr. Minister to check his facts before making a statement to the world and if there are threats so they have to be taken seriously.
P.S: This post was meant to be published on Tuesday 20th but due to technical problems during uploading the videos, it was delayed.