A trip to Mut

Now that Egypt is boiling over in the summer sun once again....I thought it appropriate to trot out this post that has been updated several times since the original writing.

Mut Egypt is as old as the sand...you can find it on the map to the left..just below the "t" in Egypt.  It is going to be 110 degrees there today with occasional sand storms. I'm pretty sure that the residents are looking northeast to Cairo waiting to hear what happens today. Not that it matters much.  Egypt will be a slightly different Egypt tomorrow and Mut will always be Mut. 

*from prior writing....A few months ago when the Egyptian "Spring" sprung forth I listened to that dimwit Monica Crawley hold forth that we were ignoring that "fact" that the Arab Spring was all George Bush's policies come to life.  Now that matters have, to be polite, not worked out so well, it is time to look again at Egypt perhaps not so much through politically rose covered glasses.

I've never been to Egypt and what I know of it comes from books, a curiosity about geography in general and now CNN.  It doesn't feel like 30 years since Sadat was gunned down - a strong enough visual at the time to stick in my head - and Mubarak and Israel didn't have another fruitless war so Egypt was somewhat off my radar.A commentator said that if Mubarak resigns and leaves Egypt he will be the only leader of Egypt in its history NOT to die in office.  I suppose that is true and its an interesting observation.

Looking at a map of Egypt (so to get my places straight so I can follow the newscasts), I noticed a town called "Mut". In school there was a class on Egyptian gods and goddesses and Mut, if I remember right, was something of the mother figure but that's about it.  Well Mut, Egypt, needs a little PR or at least a chamber of commerce as the current description doesn't exactly make me want to go there:

Mut is probably the most "tourist friendly" village in the Dakhla Oasis and does have some accommodations and amenities in that regard, including a number of hot sulphur pools.  Some better stuff about the town can be found here. It appears the town was named after the goddess or there is some connection which eludes me if it is past the obvious.   

I wonder what people in Mut are thinking about all that has gone on in the past years.  Cairo seems light years away from Mut. Syria is a long night's dream away,  Iraq and Iran are fictions from Scheherazade.

  I don't think many Mut'ians" Twitter or are on Facebook; local cell phone access seems probably a bit spotty as well. There  is  a  supposition on my part that Mut might be passed over in the scheme of events unfolding and it will go on its merry way regardless - just as  it  probably  has  done  for  a  few  thousand  years. 

The point of this? The unrest in Egypt and the entire middle east is unique for a lot of reasons not the least of which is the juxtaposition of somewhat modern middle easterner metropolises with a land so ancient and unchanging as to be out of our comprehension.  We don't have a Mut, Egypt counterpart here or frankly know of many first hand.  No towns in the rurals around here that are named after goddesses from a 40 centuries ago. Mut is far on the other side of the birth of Christ as we are on this side of it. What is going on elsewhere will be old news when it hits Mut full force and in the scope of things, will be just a bump in the road.

Anyone who wants to assume leadership of Egypt or anywhere in that neck of the woods would do well to read this written at the entrance to Ramases' tomb:  "And he found Mut at the head of the gods, Fate and fortune in her hand, Lifetime and breath of life are hers to command...I have not chosen a protector among men. I have not sought myself a protector among the great...My heart is filled with my mistress. I have no fear of anyone. I spend the night in quiet sleep, because I have a protector"....and realize that her hand, the protector hand, rests in the dust a lifetime's journey from your palace.
Against that somewhat modern juxtaposition of Egypt very old and freshly minted comes Camille Saint-Saens, the French composer (carnival of the animals) who spent a lot of time in Egypt - in the later 19th century.  His 5th piano concerto is nicknamed "The Egyptian" as it was written while he vacationed in Luxor.  The program notes for the second movement (heard below starting about minute 3) are:

II. .Andante
The Andante, traditionally the slow and expressive movement in concerto form, begins literally with a bang; the timpani punctuates an orchestral chord followed by an intensely rhythmic string part and an ascending and descending exotic run on the piano. This exciting introduction segues into the thematic exposition based on a Nubian love song that Saint-Saƫns heard boatmen sing as he sailed on the Nile in a 'dahabiah' boat. Lush and exotic, this is the primary manifestation of the Egyptian sounds of the piece and probably the source of the nickname. Toward the end of the section, the piano and orchestra produce impressionistic sounds representing frogs and the chirping of Nile crickets.

Nothing quiet in Egypt or for a 1,000 miles in any direction. No crickets and the only boats on the Nile carry nothing but bad news.