Essay/Commentary

Egypt to Remove Names of Slave-Owning Pharaohs from Pyramids

By Johnny Bulgakov

At a press conference held last Friday, The Islamic Republic of Egypt announced that it will adopt recommendations by the Social Justice Movement of the Upper and Lower Nile to remove the names of all Pharaohs, including King Tut, from Pyramids. At the conference, The Cultural Heritage Minister said that the word “Great” in reference to the “Great Kingdoms of Ancient Egypt,” would also be censored. “The pyramids were built by dark-skinned Nubian and Egyptian slaves,” a spokesperson for SJMULN explained. “It’s humiliating and hurtful to the historical self-image of our dark-skinned brothers to keep honoring these pharaohs.” During a brief Q&A that followed the conference, an historian at the University of Alexandria pointed out that Jews had in fact been used as slaves, and not dark-skinned Egyptians. “This is nothing more than Zionist propaganda,” SJMULN spokesperson responded. 

The changes follow months of violent, sometimes deadly protest by SJMULN members who are pushing for a total overhaul of the most well-recognized references to Ancient Egypt, including demands that any mention of Cleopatra be recontextualized or removed from history books: “How deplorable that of all the great leaders of this African nation, its most famous monarch is Greek, a fair skinned white woman. The Western press and the post-colonialists choose to revere—what else—but a Greek Mycenaean colonialist oppressor! No mention is made that his woman made a pact with not one, but two Roman emperors—both also white–to rule over her darker-skinned charges.”

“The very name of Alexandria,” the head of the SJMULN said during a fiery protest last month, “is an insult to our people.  It was named after another conqueror, Alexander the Great! What did he ever do for Egypt?” 

To numerous objections that Alexander had himself built the city of Alexandria, and that under Cleopatra Egypt was at its richest ever, SJMULN representatives argued that such “facts” were regularly promulgated by European economists—the worst of the colonial oppressors. 

SJMULN Representatives have also upbraided the country’s 20 million-strong Coptic community for not sufficiently supporting the proposed name change of Alexandria. SJMULN has repeatedly warned Copts against showing too much affinity for other light-skinned Christians: “It is not un-apparent to SJMULN that the Copts have maneuvered to rob Egyptians and Nubians of their true historical identities by representing Christ and the Three Wise Men on their church walls as being white when everyone knows that they were in fact dark-skinned Semites, i.e. Arabs.”

In the past, SJMULN has taken issue with the pyramids themselves, suggesting that perhaps they should be razed entirely: “The pyramids in Egypt, like the plantations in the American South are reminders of the evils of slavery and should thus either be recontextualized or perhaps even totally razed. The image of the pyramids have been coopted by western cosmopolitans and Free Masons and is even included on that most conspicuous instrument of Western oppression: the American dollar bill.”

Thousands of SJMULN supporters signed an open letter last month, putting the International Mathematical Association on notice: the pyramidal figure of the triangle itself, like the swastika, the signatories argued, needed to be rethought: “We have our eyes on all those geometry and trigonometry textbooks: we’re watching them very, very closely.”

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