Bulldozing history

Uthman ibn Abd al-Mannān, cristão convertido ao islão e tradutor da corte otomana de Belgrado, apresentou ao comité da Guerra e da Jihad em 1779, “Uma proposta de orientação aos seguidores para reacender uma lanterna apagada”(هداية المهتدي لإيفاد سراج المحمدي). Versava o documento sobre aritmética elementar, geometria plana e secções cónicas, mecânica do movimento e magnetismo, os princípios do fabrico e disparo de balas de canhão bem como de colocação de minas explosivas. Um trabalho abrangente que instruiu os soldados no conhecimento da mecânica newtoniana no séc. XVIII, com detalhes precisos, desenhos esquemáticos e as quantidades de explosivos necessárias para derrubar paredes, bem como as devidas precauções a serem observadas no armazenamento da pólvora. Isto é rapaziada que se entrega tanto ao estudo como ao “rebentar”.

«When Arab conqueror Amr Ibn Al-Aas entered Egypt in 641 AD he built the first Islamic capital of Egypt called Al-Fustat, a name which means a large tent or pavilion(…) Al-Fustat remained Egypt’s capital until 750 AD when the Abbasid revolted against the Umayyads and gained power. They moved Egypt’s capital to Al-Askar located to the north of Al-Fustat. In 868 when the Tulunid took power, the capital moved to a nearby area called Al-Qattai. In 905 the Al-Qattai was destroyed and the capital returned to Al-Fustat where it remained Egypt’s capital until 1168 when its own vizier Shawar ordered it burnt to keep its wealth out of the hands of the Crusaders. The remains of the city were absorbed by nearby Cairo which was built by the Fatimids to the north of Al-Fustat. The whole area consisting of Al-Fustat, Al-Ask and Al-Qatai remained in disrepair for 1,000 years and was used as a garbage dump. Only a few buildings are still visible as well as remains of some others. Time took its toll on the Al-Fustat city until Khedive Mohamed Ali built Al-Baroud Khana, a storehouse for gunpowder in 1820. Modern Al-Fustat includes the three main old capitals of Egypt: Al-Fustat, Al-Ask and Al-Qatai which they called Ezbet Kheirallah in Old Cairo.»

«But early this month, the site was invaded by an armed gang that covered the excavation area with sand and began to bulldoze it. The area is now rubble-filled with few remnants of its monuments and historical buildings. The intruders began to divide the land and distribute it among each other into parcels of approximately 800 square metres each. Every man surrounded his part with blocks of stones in order to separate it from the others.»

 

 

 

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