26 November 2008

The Wonders of this Eternal Monument

Pyramids have long been associated with death. Usually though, it is the death of the owner of the pyramid once entombed inside. Today I have a story of a different kind. This Arabic text appears on the front page of an old book I picked up in a dusty old book shop in the back streets of Cairo.
I asked my Egyptian friend Rami, who was working at the Egyptian Museum to translate it for me:
“It is possible to record the first suicide that happened from the top of the Great Pyramid. Copied from the two newspapers (Al-Masry & Al-Ahram) released on Tuesday, Shawal 1371.
On the morning of 14 July, 1953 at 10 o’clock, Leon Kabilly went to the pyramids site. He paid the ticket to climb the pyramid. A guide went with him and when they reached the top he went to the direction of Mena House hotel on the north side of the pyramid. He then threw himself from the top of the Great Pyramid. He head was mutilated, some parts of his brain were spread out, his hands were broken and his legs were broken. He died after hitting the ground. He was 34 years old and unmarried.
In Al-Ahram they wrote that it occurred at 9 o’clock in the morning and that he reached the top after 3/4 of an hour. Al-Masry included a photo of the body after the Police had removed his clothes. It showed his naked body, it was wrong for them to do this.
They said, “This is the first accident of it’s kind. Ah, maybe this incident was not the first one and history didn’t record it. Maybe time can reveal these records. It is the wonders of this eternal monument.”
- Ahmed Khairy.

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