'Like Taliban's demolition of ancient Buddha statues': Demolition of Cairo's historic mausoleums and heritage sites provokes outcry
Egyptian award-winning journalist Shahira Amin slammed the ongoing demolition of momentous mausoleums that once chronicled the country's history, describing it as being "similar to the Taliban's destruction of ancient Buddha statutes."
"It's a crime. Not only is it part of our irreplaceable monuments…being removed, it's also very painful that the remains of our loved ones have to be removed from their graves," Shahira Amin, also former deputy head of state-run Nile TV International and the ex-CNN correspondent in Egypt, told The New Arab.
Most recently, Amin learned that the mausoleum of her paternal grandmother, Zeinab Fahmy, had been slated to be demolished, among other sites, to make way for a highway and road infrastructure.
Fahmy was the wife of the late prominent intellectual Ahmed Amin, best known for his book on ethics.
The demolished graveyards or those pending removal mostly host the remains of public figures. They are featured by their historical as well as ascetic values.
Amin vowed to take whatever action necessary to voice her objection towards what she described as "a crime against our culture and heritage."
"I will stop it at any cost, even standing with an objection sign in front of a bulldozer to stop any destruction of my late grandmother's grave," said Amin, also the former head of state-run Nile TV International.
Tomb of my great aunt Fatma Nazli Hishmat — slated for demolition. She was the daughter of Ahmad Hishmat Pasha, Egypt’s first post independence foreign minister and wife of famed jurist Abd al-Aziz Fahmi Pasha. She died in childbirth in 1909. pic.twitter.com/YmOLiael7q— Hussein A H Omar (@chebhocine) August 28, 2023
For months now, the government of President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has been facing backlash over the demolition of historic Cairo cemeteries in the Al-Khalifa neighbourhood in southern Cairo, known as El-Imam Al-Shafaie cemeteries and those of Al-Sayeda Nafisa.
Over the past months, the government has been relocating thousands of human remains from the cemeteries in question. Parts of the graves had been within the UNESCO-listed City of the Dead, which hosts renowned public figures, writers, intellectuals and artists. The remains were moved to the outskirts of Cairo.