Should (and would) the West intervene if the Pyramids were in danger?

More calls for the destruction of Egypt’s ‘pagan’ monuments such as the Pyramids.

Hopefully this is still fringe Islamist opinion but with Islamists coming to power in Egypt the possibility at least exists that it will one day become government policy. The question is that if that event ever arises should the West intervene to prevent their destruction? And would it be likely to?

Religion strikes again.

First it wastes precious billions of man hours building silly monuments to some afterlife mumbo jumbo, and now that these relics are of enormous cultural and historical significance, it wants to destroy them because it’s an affront to some other god.

Can we remove fanatical religious leaders as the affront to rational thought that they are instead?

It Occurs to me that I didn’t answer the question. Should we intervene? Yes. Will we? Hells no.

My initial reaction was ‘yes, we should.’ But how would we accomplish that, assuming they can’t be talked or bribed out of it.

All it would take is a flight of Egyption bombers crewed by fundamentalist muslims, and the pyramids are history. Barring the establishment of a no-fly zone, I think if some religious-asshole-in-charge decides the pyramids are history, we can kiss them goodbye.

The OP’s article says the fanatics want to cover the pyramids with wax. :confused:

Maybe Egypt needs some better tourist attraction, and “World’s Largest Candle” sounds like a good idea!

Many people complained when the Taliban set out to destroy all the Buddha statues in Afghanistan. No action was taken, however.

I’m really not sure how to frame an argument that leads to the conclusion that we should do anything about it. The pyramids are pretty clearly Egyptian, both physically and culturally. We don’t really have any sort of legitimate claim to be their protector. And the current government in Egypt is (at least ostensibly) democratically elected. If the Egyptian people want to blow up their greatest monument I’m not sure why or how we would stop them.

If anyone tries it, Zahi Hawass will kick their ass!


Anyway, to the OP: Not gonna happen. We’d see a military coup first. The Buddhist statues in Afghanistan are a bad analogy. How much money did they generate for the Afghan economy?

Well, we’re still in Afghanistan in order to make it safe for christian missionaries and further womens rights, so…the bar is set pretty low.

Isn’t he in jail? Maybe my memory is faulty there, but I seem to recall something about him going to jail.
Anyway, I don’t think we could do much if the Egyptians really wanted to destroy the temples. Maybe bribe them to bury them instead, if they are some sort of affront to Islam. It would be just like when the Taliban took it in their idiotic heads to dynamite those Buddhist images and icons in Afghanistan.

(btw, I don’t think this is a likely possibility for a number of reasons…just some fringe lunatics in Egypt spouting off. I think that if someone actually tried to do it the Egyptians themselves would revolt, as they put a lot of stock in their cultural heritage…plus, they bring in huge tourist dollars that are badly needed by the Egyptian economy)


Most people in the US didn’t even know those Buddha statues existed until the Taliban blew them up, though, so I’m not sure how relevant an example that is.

We already have our own pyramids and Sphinx copies in Las Vegas. I don’t think it matters if the Egyptians want to destroy the old ones now.

Maybe we could buy them from the Egyptians and move them, sort of like Scotties Castle. :stuck_out_tongue:


Given that the pyramids are already the shape of a giant pile of rubble, i’m not sure that dropping anything smaller than a nuclear bomb on them would do much to the structure.

In the event that some future Egyptian government actually tried to destroy them, or other ancient sites? UNESCO would raise a stink, and it’d cost Egypt a lot of tourist revenue, but I don’t see how “the west” would have any claim to start a war and risk the lives of our soldiers over some old statues.

I’d want to stop them, but I don’t see that we would have any more right than to stop the English from tearing down St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Is this even remotely plausible? I was under the impression that most Egyptians whatever their religion were immensely proud of the ancient heritage of their country.

It was terrible when the Bamiyan Buddhas were destroyed and it would be terrible if something similar happened to the pyramids- just an incalculable loss to world culture. I don’t believe a regime or a population has the right to destroy something like that. But it’s very for me to imagine a large scale military operation being launched on behalf of preserving artwork or historical sites.

It’s hard to see how any Egyptian government could even consider it; the Pyramids are a great source of income and employment. If push comes to shove they’d probably just stick a star and crescent on the top; converting sites to Islamic sites of worship has many precedents (the Hagia Sofia, for example).

Most Egyptians are quite proud of their ancient past so I don’t see any real danger of them destroying their monuments. Plus, as has been pointed out, tourism is such an important part of their economy I just don’t see them cutting their own throats. If it does happen, no, we should not intervene. As tragic a loss it would be to the entire world for the pyramids to be destroyed I don’t think it’d be a good idea to send an army to stop them.

I seriously doubt any conventional bombs could do much more than dent the pyramids.