Saturday, October 18, 2014

University Shootings in Egypt



Asalamu Alaykom,



My oldest son is a university student, alhumdulillah.  I worked REALLY hard to get him there, even if I haven't been there these past years.  Getting your child to adulthood is a looooong process.  When you start to see the fruits of your labor, you realize what a sad day it would be to watch it all go to waste.

My oldest son is in the States at a really good school, alhumdulillah.  I don't worry about him getting mixed up in the politicized climate at Egyptian universities, yet I know that there are strong convictions in him that might get him into trouble wherever he is.  If you are a bright person, striving for better, you often go against society.

At the Egyptian universities now, there is discord and it's not being reported by the Egyptian government.  It's mostly unknown by the Egyptian public. Here is a video taken on October 14 in Alexandria. If you recall, we just got back from Alexandria.

Whether news should or shouldn't be told is something that goes against my grain.  I am still American in the belief that all information is good information.  My husband and I have had many disagreements over me just needing to know what's going on:  in our family; in our house; in our neighborhood; in the country.

When I see what's going on here, I think about my oldest son.  I don't know exactly what he's doing and thinking because he's become independent.  I think how he is 20 years old and prone to strong convictions.  I doubt he would consult me if he were spurred to protest.  I bet he'd join friends to lend his voice and even put his body on a front line.

Of course, I wish that the university students could focus on their education.  If they REALLY want to change the country, become a leader academically and see what avenues that opens for them.  The "us vs. them" mentality is crippling this country and we don't really need to see it play out at schools.

Having said all that, a young person's decision to protest at their university shouldn't end in injury and death from live ammo being fired at them.  It shouldn't be like this.  It's sad that many people around me don't know, and those who do know don't care.

"They're just protesters," was the throw away line from a dad with two young children of his own.

I once had only young children but now that they are growing, I sense how my eldest are young adults.  I pray daily for their safety as they will always be my babies.  Any protester ever killed anywhere was once the hope in a parent's dream of the future.  Let's not casually dismiss the inability to protest without being shot at.  Let's not vilify those idealists even if their hopes for Egypt differ from yours.

May God protect places of learning all around the globe.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Destroying the Mosque of Abu al-Abbas Mursi



Asalamu Alaykom,





What would you do if you saw people defiling a mosque?  

Throwing garbage on the steps.

Letting it fall into disrepair.

Spray painting the walls.

Bringing dogs to defecate and urinate.

Littering the area with used needles from their heroin habit.

Imagine.

For me, I don't have to imagine because I saw this at a mosque in Alexandria.  

While every mosque is important to believers, what makes this especially difficult to stomach is that I'm talking about the Mosque of Abu al-Abbas Mursi.



El-Mursi Abul-Abbas Mosque (Arabicجامع المرسي أبو العباس‎) is a famous mosque in Alexandria,Egypt. It is dedicated to the 13th century Alexandrine Sufi saint el-Mursi Abul Abbas whose tomb it contains.
It is located in the Anfoushi neighborhood of Alexandria, near the Citadel of Qaitbay.
The Mosque was redesigned and built in today's current form by Eugenio Valzania and Mario Rossiin the years 1929/1945.




This beautiful mosque, with its high minaret and four domes, is Alexandria's largest and one of the most important Islamic monuments.




Abu Al-Abbas Al-Mursi is Alexandria’s largest mosque; with a cream coloured façade, four great domes, arabesque designs and a high minaret, the mosque is a beautiful sight.

Built in 1775 to commemorate the life of an Andalusian Sheikh that was buried on the site, it is one of the most visited mosques on the White Med coast.

While visiting this amazing sanctuary, do not forget to have a long and thorough look at the colonnade of elongated arches, the eight monolithic granite columns and the beautiful marble floor. 





from Travel Guide to Alexandria

This stunning mosque, with its high minaret and four domes, is considered Alexandria’s
largest and most important Islamic monuments. It was built in 1775 A.D. on the eastern
harbor of Alexandria over a tomb of a Spanish saint and scholar. El-Mursi Abu Al Abbas
Mosque was dedicated to the Muslim hermit, el-Mursi Abu Al Abbas who was born in
Murcia, Spain, in 1219. He came to Alexandria to teach the Islamic theology in the Mosque
of El Attarin. He died in 1287 and was buried in the site where the mosque now lies.

Built in 1929, the present mosque was modeled on the Andalusian style with a 

unique octagonal plan with sides measuring 22 meters. The entire area the 
mosque covers 3000 square meters. His tomb became a pilgrimage for Muslims
from Egypt and other Islamic regions when the rich trader El Sheikh Zein El Din Ibn El
Qattan founded a mausoleum and small dome for the tomb in addition to a small mosque in
1307. It was occasionally restored until a much larger mosque was built by Sheikh Abu Al
Hassan EL Maghrabi, and its renovation was finally completed in 1863 when the ritual of
celebrating the birth of Abu Al Abbas became an annual festival.

This mosque is the place where architecture becomes an exploration. If you are an

architect, you will feel that you have found your perfect inspiration, and if you’re a tourist
then you have found the subject of your next gorgeous photos that will be added to your
collection.






I hope you read some of what others are saying about the importance of the mosque.

This is Islamic architecture  at its finest.  Here is a 1945 document from Yahia Qadri detailing the well-planned construction of the complex.  Large teams of dedicated people really cared that this building would last through the ages.

Remember that many people discover beautiful Islamic buildings first and then search deeper into the faith which was the initial inspiration.  Truly, Islamic architecture is dawah or religious outreach; if the place of worship is a peaceful sanctuary then perhaps the religion itself is a pathway to that peace.

The Mosque of Abu al-Abbas Mursi is many things:

a place to worship The Almighty;

a resting place for an important Muslim scholar;

an instrument of dawah;

an architectural achievement;

a historical site important for not just Muslims in Alexandria but worldwide, and not just for Muslims but for all of humanity.

For all these reasons, seeing the Mosque of Abu al-Abbas Mursi was on our "Must See" list for our visit this week in Alexandria.

Our plan was to be there for the magrib prayer at sunset.  We walked along the Cornish as if we were heading back to the Fort.  There was the upscale Fish Market restaurant on our right.  A little further on, we reached the fountain.


Walking through the large crowd, we could see a wide range of couples, families with small children and roaming independent teens.  Everyone was enjoying the carnival atmosphere of ice cream, face painting, trinket sellers and carnival rides.  It was a fair of sorts that took precedent over the needs of a holy place.  Litter was everywhere as was disregard for the mosque.

When we reached the steps, a man inside motioned us in but I couldn't.  I was really sick from seeing the condition of the entrance.  How could a place that values cleanliness be this dirty?  I didn't take any picture of that entrance.  I was too sad.

We walked past two sedentary police officers around to the side of the mosque.  We looked to be the only tourists that night.  Yes, I wanted a picture of a place I'd dreamed of seeing but it needed to be a picture from my imagination and not reality.  The whole place was so chaotic and messy.  We walked to the side and I tried to take a photo like how I used to for real estate brochures.  There's a way to focus only on the best while cropping out the worst.

The gate which used to protect the courtyard was open to all.  We walked in and the the scene was dismal.  The courtyard was filthy.



There were children who had brought two puppies to the courtyard and the dogs were using the place to relieve themselves.


For Muslims, having a dog in a holy place is considered very bad.

I then saw the graffiti.


There has been some publicity about Egyptian churches suffering since the Revolution.  I know that is true and it is heartbreaking.  What I hadn't realized is that the majids/mosques are also suffering.  That destructive thoughtlessness is not limiting itself to one religion.

Take a closer look at the names.  I see Muslim names.


Some boy named after the Prophet (pbuh) has his name spray painted on the side of the mosque.  Shame.  That's a big shame. In another section, there was the name "Ahmed".  So, if you're wondering who is responsible for this graffiti, look for Muslims not Christians, Jews or Hindus.  Muslims themselves are destroying their own masjids.

Remember that there was a whole HUGE crowd of Muslims outside this area, laughing it up, eating until their buttons popped, spending money and time on frivolities.  I have no problem with people having fun---I was on vacation myself.  What I hate is that I had only to spend two days in Alexandria to discover this problem yet no one  in Egypt's second biggest city has.  How is THAT?

It gets worse.

My husband decided to walk ahead of me and called for me to go down some stairs.  He thought there might be a better area below.  I followed him in a bit of a daze.  My son (El-Kid on this blog) was tagging along although he'd been begging to leave because the place, "really creeps me out".

Three steps down I saw the hypodermic needles.  A click went off in my mind.  I remembered the strange scene of a young man freaking out on the sidewalk.  He'd been so wild with agitated shouting that I'd been reluctant to pass by.  Now, his antics made sense.  This was a place for drug addicts to shoot heroin or mix.

"T'allah delwaty---DELWATY!"  I commanded my husband to come right away without telling him anything more.  To his credit, he took me at my word that we needed to leave immediately.  It's not easy for a woman to order an Egyptian man around but in a marriage built on trust it can happen. Thank God that he followed me up the stairs.  Once we were up into the courtyard again, I told him that I'd seen needles.  He then told me that he'd seen a man down there.

We were clueless and we would have been helpless if that man had turned on us.  Really?  Going to one of the most famous mosques in Egypt should not have to be life threatening.  We could have been attacked by someone high on drugs that night.  Addiction is a very powerful force and can produce unpredictable behavior.

What's important to remember is that we're NOT typical tourists.  I'm very world-wise and careful.  My husband is actually from this country and is always looking for trouble to avoid.  We fell into a big dangerous situation.  If this is what happened to us, then what could happen to first-time tourists to Egypt?

The sun was setting.  We quickly made our way out without looking back.  Through the crowds we went again.



I had a bad feeling towards all the people----sorry, but I was mad at them for allowing the destruction of such an Islamic treasure.  They were like the people of Jahiliyya the time before Islam; basking in the Dunya the worldly pleasures and forgetting the Akhira the after life.

We walked away and I felt guilty to leave the mosque in such a state.  It was as if I were leaving a sick old man to die.  Astragferallah. The truth is that I couldn't do anything that night.  We walked and it was a kind of escape.

My husband said that he felt like throwing up.

I felt like washing---and then I realized that washing my skin wasn't enough.  I said, "I feel like I need to wash my soul."

El-Kid was grossed out and said he couldn't believe we'd brought him to such a place.  As a Muslim mom who has always tried to instill pride in my son, that comment hurt.  He was right that it was a bad place.  You could feel the evil.  How very sad that one of the most majestic Islamic landmarks in the country had that affect on him.

When we had set out our walk, we were going to have dinner after our tour of the mosque.  Now, we weren't hungry even though we were at the restaurant.  We went in, washed up and tried to make the best of it.  The meal wasn't sitting well with us because our eyes had already taken in too much.  My husband complained to the manager about everything; he was in a horrible mood.  I understood.

Do you understand?  There is a real need to rectify this problem.  What I'm doing now is publicizing this and I hope you can also pass this along to people and groups who care.  It is an embarrassment for Egypt but that is not my goal.  My intention is to clean up a treasured jewel of Islam.

May God make it easy on those who can find a way to help.






Friday, October 3, 2014

A Muslim by Any Other Name



Asalamu Alaykom,




I used to have an All-American name.

When I took shahhaddah, I felt that I was really done with it.  I changed it to "Yosra" which was an Arabic name that my Muslim man and I had picked out.  The reasons for choosing "Yosra" had more to do with how it dovetailed together with his name than about religion.  At the time, I didn't even know it appeared in the Holy Quran.  Getting a new name was a kind of re-birth---a re-packaging of the NEW AND IMPROVED ME!

I am Yosra and "yes" that's my legal name.  I paid my money and I have it on all my documents.  I carry around my official name change decree when we visit government offices in Egypt (just in case there's an issue about it somewhere).

I've been Yosra since February, 2003.  My mom, who gave me my beautiful birth name, stood up in court on that day and said that she was aware that I wanted to change it.  It's part of the legal process.  That must have been hard on her---as a LOT of my life has been hard on her.  May God forgive me and reward her.

I had thought that I could change my whole name when I married but NOPE I couldn't.  You can only change your last name.  I didn't have a problem changing my first name but that last name was an issue.  That day we were to pay for a marriage license, I actually sat stupefied in the waiting area mulling over what I should.  Something just felt mixed up.

What would have really helped was some Islamic guidance but because I was with a non-practicing Muslim man who was not forthcoming.  At this time, I had already been married and had given up my maiden name (my surname or family name).  I was trying to build a future but I had another man's family name still pulling me into the past.  That felt wrong but it was the same last name as my kids from that marriage had.  I liked being connected to them---if only I could keep our connection without being connected to the ex.

Should I go back to my maiden name now that I was no longer a maiden?

Should I take the family name of my new husband?

I actually told my man that we had to go.  I couldn't think any more.  So despite having taken a number and having waited for our turn, I gave up our spot in order to think clearly.  I would be "Yosra" but Yosra----What?

I talked it over with my dad.  I had already given up the name, he reasoned, so the deed was done.  No need to feel badly about it now and going backwards.  He thought that I should just move forward.

Here's one of the problems reverts face:  we get council from all over God's green earth, because that's what we're used to doing, but we don't go to God.  Yes, the answer was there but I didn't know I could find it so I didn't look.

Islamically, a woman is ALWAYS part of her family; it's part of her identity.  She doesn't lose her self when she weds.  Now, someone try to tell me that feminism is a Western ideal.  No way!

We did go back to that government office and take another ticket to wait in line.  I was a bit shocked.  The previous week our ticket number had been 322 and I had remembered it since the number 22 was our special number.  I even kept the ticket!  Now, I was looking, once again, at 322.  Subhanallah.  What were the chances?  I took it as a sign that God was with us---and of course God always is.

Sadly, I did sign off to change my last name once again.



I would now trade my easy-to-pronounce last name for a new chance at family life.  When I married that November, I became All-American First Name + Unpronounceable-Arab Last Name.  Three months later, I went to court to become Yosra Unpronounceable-Arab Last Name.  

On paper, I now looked like I was from the Middle East not the Midwest.  Little did I know, the month after the change, I would be out of a job and searching for employment with that name.  I'm sure you can all imagine how well that went.

Four years later, our marriage ended.  Divorce is never easy but it is harder for a woman who has given away her name.  What should you do?  Keep a name from a family that no longer considers you kin?  Give away a name that your child has?  This time, on my divorce decree, I signed away my foreign moniker and went back to my Scottish roots.  I was now Yosra American-Last-Name.

I liked it.  I saw me better for what I was:  I was a mix but no longer mixed-up.  Although I was Muslim, I was never Arab!  I could never be Arab on paper and Anglo in person.  I liked that my name represented the full circle of my life.  I had started in one place but ended up another; I had made choices; I was dynamic.

I vowed that day that I would NEVER give up my family name again and I haven't.




In 2010, I married here in Egypt and kept my family name.  Ahmed, who observes his faith, never even considered that I would change it.  That's a big positive difference.

Alhumdulillah.

As for my first name, I learned after a year of having it how beautifully "yosra" was used in the Quran.  I have come to embrace its important for my faith and to slough away the other reasons that once were tantamount in my mind.

Letting go of what you once held dear is part of coming to Islam.  Staying in Islam necessitates reflection, realization and recollection of who you really are.


Friday, September 26, 2014

The Great Vist the Great Pyramids



Asalamu Alaykom,

Living next to the Great Pyramids means that I am where many of the world's greatest have been.  Although I'm sure there are more world leaders and famous celebrities who have visited the Pyramids, this is a good start.  I will add more when I find more.





Herodotus

450 BCE

He listened to his local travel guides for information about the Pyramids.  What he wrote can't be taken as absolute truth.  However, Herodotus is famous for being the first travel writer on Egypt.




Alexander the Great

331 BCE




When Alexander sailed the Nile on his way to Memphis (modern-day Sakara), he passed by the Pyramids.  The white limestone outer covering would have still been in place making it even more of an amazing sight--especially when the rays of the sun glinted off it.  There is only one remnant of this layer which you can see on the top of the Kafre pyramid



Caliph Al Mamoun
820 AD

Not content with simply looking at the Pyramids, he tunneled in as he thought he would find treasure.



Napoleon Bonaparte

1798


At the Battle of the Pyramids, the French commander is said to have told his troops, "Soldiers, forty centuries look down on you from these Pyramids."

The legend of French troops shooting off the Sphinx's nose is false.  Sketches made in 1737 show that the nose was missing long before Napoleon's cannons showed up.  

What really happened?  Well, there's another legend dating from 1378 that a Muslim man, Muhammad Sa'im al-Dahr, discovered that locals were making food offerings to the Sphinx.  His literal defacing of this idol is said to have broken off the nose.  True or not, that's as far as we can delve into history's first nose job.




Queen Victoria's son
King Edward VII
for his "Tour of the East" while serving as Prince of Wales

March 5, 1862

The 20-year-old prince is seated on the third standing camel from the left.  Francis Bedford was the photographer on the "Tour of the East" and the first official photographer ever on a Royal tour.





'We then proceeded on the dromedaries (not at all an unpleasant mode of conveyance) to the celebrated Pyramids of Ghizeh - They quite exceeded my expectations, & are certainly wonderful mementoes of our forefathers. We visited the Sphinx just before sunset, which is also very curious and interesting. We had a charming little encampment just below the Pyramids where we slept for the night' 

(Prince of Wales' diary, 4 March 1862).




He created some of the first photographs of important Christian and Muslim sites in Egypt (and for him to have been granted permission to them is a small miracle).



The trip also included the Holy Land, Syria, Turkey and the Mediterranean.  The collection of photographs were then compiled into a folio.  




Historians regard his efforts as some of the most important Middle Eastern photographs of the time.  It certainly was the pinnacle of his career.


Read more about the trip here and more about the photographs here

To see more Tour of the East photographs go here




Sherlock Holmes creator
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Winter, 1895-6

The author had just killed off his fictional detective in the story "A Study in Scarlet" but he was busy trying to keep his wife alive.  Louise had tuberculosis and the Swiss air hadn't cured her.  They were trying the sunny desert weather next to the Pyramids during the winter instead of bitter cold Britain. 

Their residence was at the Mena House Hotel, which still stands to this day and is a must-see (if not for an overnight then at least for a meal). Click here if you're interested more on the Mena House Hotel history.  

This photo is reported to be the author on a donkey in 1907 with his second wife Jean (as nothing was able to cure his first wife).  For more information go to The Arthur Conan Doyle Collection.



U.S. President 
Theodore Roosevelt

1872

Young Theodore, 14, is taken to Egypt by his father "Thee" on a trip to Europe and the Middle East.


1910



1910

Theodore Roosevelt was a young 50 years old when he was done with his official duties as president.  He took an African journey and along the way gathered specimens of plants and animals.  Of course, the killing of wildlife wasn't really such a great idea but the Smithsonian Museum taxidermied the kills.


"Kermit" mentioned in the cartoon was his son and the official photographer for the African journey.  It was Kermit, 21, who took this  photo of the Great Pyramid.





The former president also addressed the General Assembly of Cairo University and you can read more that here.





Shapers of Nations
Winston Churchill, Gertrude Bell, 
and T.E. Lawrence "of Arabia"

1921

The Cairo Conference was to map out the Middle East according to British sensibilities.  You can read more about the momentous meeting here. You can also read more about Gertrude Bell's fascinating role as "The Woman Who Invented Iraq".







Life Photographer
Margaret Bourke-White

1940

I could literally cry.  Margaret Bourke-White is one of my heroines!  She was a fearless photographer and to think that she was in this spot makes me smile.  Great photo too of British troops marching through.



The way she sets up her shots are just amazing.  Look at her lines!  Everything is so right and you know she only had a second to create the focal point as she envisioned.




U.S. President
Franklin D. Roosevelt

1943 and 1945

FDR did travel to Egypt twice but whether or not he viewed the Pyramids I have yet to find out.  If he did visit, then he would have been the first sitting president to tour them (as the other Roosevelt president was not in office during his visits).






Advertising Photographer and
Original "Madman"
Bert Stern

1952

His image of a glass with the Pyramid reflected inside for Smirnoff's "The Driest of the Dry" became an iconic ad photo in 1962.  It was so successful that Smirnoff vodka went from selling 100,000 cases a year to 10 million.

Bert Stern is also famous for photographing the last sitting with Marilyn Monroe--two months later she would be dead.









Louis Armstrong 
with wife Lucille

January 28, 1961







Soviet Cosmonaut
Yuri Gargarin
The First Human Being into Space

1962




Read more about Yuri's achievements and his death at age 34 here.




Egyptian Singing Legend
Umm Kulthum

19??





In 1999, to celebrate the end of the millenium, Umm Kulthum's portrait was projected onto the Pyramids as part of a two-hour show.  We should all be so lucky!





U.S. President
Richard M. Nixon and 
First Lady 
Pat Nixon
with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and First Lady Jehan

June 12-14, 1974




It is a completely different scene of the same occasion when shot in black and white by Swiss photographer Rene Burri.





The Grateful Dead
in the first rock concert ever permitted at the Pyramids

September 17, 1978

more photos  here





Peter Ustinov 
as "Hercule Poirot"
in Death on the Nile

1978


Mia Farrow
as "Jackie"
in Death on the Nile

1978








U.S. President 
Jimmy Carter and 
First Lady
Rosalynn Carter
with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and First Lady Jehan

1979

This photo was taken a year after signing the Camp David Peace Agreement.  Carter has made three presidental visits to Egypt and more after leaving office.





Monty Python's
Michael Palin
for his TV Show "Around the World in 80 Days"

1988




Diana Princess of Wales

May 12, 1992

Diana traveled alone to Egypt that year.  Four years later, in August of 1996, she would be divorced from Prince Charles.  The following year, she left this earth along with the Egyptian man she loved.




















U.S. President
Bill Clinton and 
First Lady
Hiliary Rodham Clinton 
with First Lady Suzanne Mubarak

October 25, 1994






Omar Sherif and 
Kate Maberly
for the IMAX movie "Mysteries of Egypt"

1998





Bollywood Superstars
Shah Rukh Khan
and Kajol
for their movie Kabhi Khushi Kabie Gham...

Fall, 2000

These two are my favorite Bollywood stars; they make a great cinematic couple.




What great colors!

See their video for the song Suraj Hua Madham but be forewarned that it is as hot as the sizzling sand at noon.





Thanks to Bollywood Presents for all their information on Indian movies shot in Egypt.


Sting
in the third rock concert ever permitted at Pyramids

April, 2001
more info here



British Prime Minister
Tony and Cherie Blair
with Zahi Hawass

December, 2001


There was quite a controversy over their visit.  You can read more here.  It is interesting that Tony Blair always speaks so favorably about the Egyptian regime in power--maybe because he was once treated so royally by them.






Russian President
  Vladimir Putin

April 27, 2005








First Lady
Laura Bush
May 23, 2005




Her father-in-law George H.W. Bush traveled to Egypt's capital in 1990 during the Persian Gulf crisis but her husband George preferred Sharm el-Sheik for his three meetings.







Justin Beiber
Shakira
with Zahi Hawass

March 28, 2007






Shia LaBouf
with the movie Transformers

October 17, 2008


Read more here.




The special effect result:





Jeffery Katzenberger,
Ben Stiller and Chris Rock
with Zahi Hawass

December, 2008








U.S. President
Barak Obama
with Zahi Hawass

June 4, 2009






Salma Hayak 
and family
with Zahi Hawass

November, 2009

read more here




Beyonce

2009

Wow, seems like Beyonce stirred up a sandstorm when she came to view the Pyramids.  The diva was apparently late and this caused some ire in ol' Zahi Hawas, a.k.a. the renowned Egyptologist in all of these photos.  






He is reported to have said that she was, "stupid and rude," and that he banished her from the Land of the Dead.  I guess there may have been two divas at the Pyramids that day!

Read more here.

I don't know where the truth lies.  Allahu alim; God alone knows.

What I will say is that her photos at the Pyramids were the best in all the celebrity shots of I saw.  




She is effortlessly gorgeous next to the sites.  Mashahallah!






Karl Pilkington
for Sky 1's An Idiot Abroad travel program
created by Ricky Gervais

2009




To see Karl at the Cairo Museum and then the Pyramids watch the video below:




Other escapades include walking through Khan Khalili, eating camel and eating at a deaf KFC in Cairo.  




Absolutely Fabulous
Joanna Lumley
for her show Joan Lumley's Nile

2010







Read more here.




Mariah Carey
for her concert

May 17, 2010

A power surge started an electrical fire at her feet right before she was to start.  Quick thinking Mariah put out the flames with a towel.







Paris Hilton

June 3, 2010


Kylie Minogue
in concert

October 22, 2010










French actress
Juliet Binoche

November 30, 2010






Michael Jackson
2010

I know you are trying to remember when exactly Michael Jackson died.  Wasn't it before 2010?  And, though he did lighten his skin, you don't remember him this white, right?

Well, it's all going to make sense when I tell you that Michael Jackson is the name of the camel.  Apparently, his moniker is a big hit with tourists who place his pic all over the internet.






Ashton Kutcher and 
Demi Moore

December, 2010





Sean Penn 
with Egyptian Actor Khaled El Nabawy

2011







Vin Diesel

2011








Jean Claude Van Damme

2011

read more and see video here





Angelina Jolie
Brad Pitt

June, 2012









First Black Miss America and Entertainer
Vanessa Williams

June 14, 2012



It is no mistake that the chronicle ends in 2012.  Really, there have not been many visitors to this Last Remaining World Wonder and that's too bad.  With 2015 fast approaching, let's all hope that there will be more safety, security and sanity in Egypt and that travelers will once again feel like booking tickets here.  Once you make the journey and reach this incredible place, you don't have to be famous to feel like you're a superstar.