Friday, July 9, 2010

Senator Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1205

  It’s powerful to read our history. It’s more powerful to hear our history.  It is most powerful to see our history. During the last week or so, I saw our history with my own eyes.

  For the sake of clarity, let me say up front that I claim all history of Africans as mine since I am of African descent. However, as quiet as it is kept, Egyptian history is also European history for so much of what we attribute to Greece came from Egypt. We are all touched by the history of Egypt.

  Now that this matter is cleared up, I saw our history with my own eyes on a 9-day trip to Egypt, originally known as Kemet. It was an experience I shall never forget.

  We arrived in Cairo, Egypt at 2:30 on Saturday morning. By mid-morning we were out experiencing our history first hand; seeing it with our own eyes. Among other things, we visited three pyramids and observed a fourth, the Step Pyramid. The sights were impressive. Just the sight of these buildings captured our eyes. The knowledge, however, was mind grappling.

  Pyramids were built so scientifically and precisely 4,000 – 5,000 years ago, that present day scientists, engineers, and others cannot understand how these monuments were constructed. There are so many facts to share  that I do not have the space but allow me to share five about the Great Pyramid:  (1) there is more stone in it than in all the cathedrals, churches, and chapels built in England since the birth of Christ; (2) The height is equal to a 45 story building; (3) there are some 2 ½ million stones weighing from 2 to 70 tons; and (4) if theses stones were cut into 1 foot square blocks and laid end to end, it would stretch 2/3 of the distance around the earth; and (5) each part and the whole are exact in measurement to a fraction of an inch.

  When we cannot understand something, we often create our own explanation. Because some can’t understand how these massive buildings we know as pyramids could be constructed so massively and precisely even today, not to speak of 5,000 years ago, some postulate that Martians or other alien creatures came down to Earth and constructed them. I ask myself just one question:  Would alien creatures dedicate pyramids to earthly creatures even kings of Kemet (Egypt)?  I think Martians or other such creatures would have honored their own. Case closed.

  I visited a boat museum. I could not understand why a boat would be located in desert sands. I later learned that their religion, which said there was only one God long before Hebrews proclaimed one God, also had a similar concept to purgatory in the Catholic Church. A boat was needed to get from purgatory across the waters of death to their equivalent of Heaven. That’s why boats were placed in some pyramids along with various other objects from life.

  After two days in Cairo, we flew to Luxor and took a cruise up the Nile River. We viewed history from the vantage point of four ancient cities, including Luxor and Aswan.

  The most visually striking monuments were not pyramids as one might think. The temples at Luxor claimed my eyes and mind and would not let go. There were 134 temples in one place, each a symbol unto itself. Each Egyptian leader would build a separate temple next to another temple. Each temple was inscribed with many and various symbols, each conveying specific messages. This set of temples was connected to another set of temples over a mile away. It was such a powerful visual experience.

  The tombs in the Valley of the Kings were another telling experience. I expected to go down into the Valley of the Kings. Instead, we went up. The tombs were dug into the mountain. The tomb of Ramesses II was the largest and most revealing. Every inch of the walls, pillars and other facets was covered with thousands upon thousands of writings and symbols, each conveying messages about life and death. The color of the people drawn, a deep, deep brown, was still vibrant 4,000 – 5,000 years later. The science and skills employed were obviously very advanced.

  There was so much more: the 26 letter alphabet the Greeks took and refined and we know it today as the Greek Alphabet; the 365 day calendar – 360 + 5 days to celebrate; the tekhen (obelisk) which the Washington Monument copies in design; the mummies preserved for 5,000 years; the efforts of the Greeks who conquered Kemet around 330 B. C. and renamed the country Egypt and their temples and religion to help subdue the people; the efforts of the Romans to do the same; the efforts of the Christians and Arabs to do the same; Napoleon Bonaparte’s soldiers shooting the noses off the Sphinx to reduce the African features; and so on.

  We also learned about Egypt of today: some 80 million people; 79 million live along the Nile Valley on 7 percent of the land while ½ million live on the other 93 percent of land which is desert; the Aswan Dam which created the second largest human made lake in the world and creates 67 percent of the electricity used in the country; the markets with all the hand made goods, etc. using techniques from thousands of years ago; and etc.  It was a powerful learning experience. I wish I could share in more detail.

EPILOGUE – Our religion tells a lot about our relationship to God. It also tells a lot about the relationship of humans to humans. That’s why these temples from thousands of years ago are so important to our understanding history.

  About the author: Hank Sanders represents the 23rd Senate District in Alabama.

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