If a future fundamentalist Egyptian government began to destroy pyramids...

If, some time in the future, an Islamic fundamentalist government in Egypt began a wholesale destruction of all Egyptian antiquities, including the Pyramids, should the West intervene militarily to prevent them, and what grounds would they have for the action in international law?
BTW this is a stated aim of many fundamentalist groups in Egypt, who abhor these relics of pagan worship.

Unless I’m mistaken, the Egyptian governments of past decades have been destroying irreplacable antiquities, in the name of economics and dam-building, and the Western governments have said next-to-nothing–other than “It’s the Economy, stupid.”

The “leaders” of the world care jack-squat about scholarship or history.

Isn’t this an IMHO type thing?

Not if you read the question.

The governments can’t do much besides passing resolutions condemning the actions. Egypt owns the monuments and one of the perks of being sovereign is the ability to choose what to do with your stuff.

It is a Great Debate if yo ask me. The pyramids destruction (if announced and not just done in a surprise fashion one day), would not be tolerated I’m guessing, even if some tombs (and articles found therein) have been allowed to be destroyed.

DaLovin’ Dj

the pyramids should be safe. The taleban only destroyed antiquities that showed human likenesses (Islam strictly allows no pictures of people or god). The sphinx on the other hand…

Yeah, this one is definitely bound for IMHO or GD.

I’ll leave it here for now solely for the purpose of answering the question "Does there exist authority or precedent in international law for military action solely or primarily for the purpose of protecting antiquities?

After that, it’s gone.

This is an interesting (if not GQ) question. International outrage, IMO, would be sufficiently enormous in the case of the pyramids. This would likely entail international sanctions of some sort.

If an iconoclastic regime opted to wipe lesser known landmarks off the map, there’d likely be short-lived protest. Witness the Taliban’s destruction of the world’s tallest Buddha statues at Bamiyan. But at that point, the Taliban was already shunned by nearly the entire world.

"Tourism officially became the country’s second largest foreign currency earner in 1996, when revenues reached US$ 3 billion, an increase of US$ 710 million over 1995 figures."

I suppose it could happen but the economic consequences would be a disaster.

So, the question is:

Although the entire geographic region of Palestine could be considered as one humongous antiquity, still I don’t think the fighting is “about” protecting antiquities. :smiley:

I’m gonna go with “No”, here. Can anybody else think of something?

Neat question, BTW.

How would one go about destroying a pyramid? I know that some south american ones have been destroyed by weather and looting, but they were made of dirt. It took many years to make the pyramids with a whole bunch of labor; even with modern (de)construction methods, how would you go about destroying an entire pyramid within the length of time it would take for brighter minds to come into power?

If the answer to this question is yes, then ‘the West’ (or the entire world) should intervene any time a government destroys its own history. I don’t see anyone taking military action against China for the three gorges dam, and no one went in and whacked the morons who blew up the big Buddhas just for the Buddhas, so it looks like the answer is ‘No’.

Righteous indignation doesn’t have much grounds, but would be a nice change of pace. I’m guessing that if they’re not harming the economy of other countries, everyone would be mad but wouldn’t actually expend any energy trying to stop them (or commit military forces to it). If Iraq had invaded Kuwait to blow up religious artifacts and hadn’t deprived us of access to oil, would we have done anything, militarily?

I’ve never understood what these groups have against pagans. I guess I’ll just be glad that there are still a few countries that aren’t anti-pagan, or there would be no stonehenge, and I wouldn’t be able to walk to burial mounds, and there’d be no history that was older than a few thousand years.