I had the chance to visit the pyramids of Giza at Egypt. It was truly glorious to see the large stones, the tombs, mummification and the things that belonged to a King buried in a far off land. Out in the desert by the Nile River, in a time of zero machinery, technology and automobile, a structure of 455 feet was built with bare hands and on wounded backs. This was all so that a mortal being may live on in luxury even after death.
When the tour guides take you to the pyramids, the first thing they will point out is how big each stone is and the way it was built. Each stone is 2.5 tons heavy (2300 kgs, 5000lbs). This is significant because back in the time of Pharaoh, there were no boats, cranes or machinery to make and transport this stone. They only had the papyrus plant (tree). Remember, these pyramids are built away from the city. Which means they made the stone in the city and transported it through the Nile River which back then was the primary source of water for the entire land.
To bring all these stones to the desert, they put logs together and made a float (not even a boat) so imagine how many trips it would have taken to transport the endless number of these stones from one side of this wide, long river to another. Also, how many men did it take to carry the stone and put them on the logs? And how many to carry the logs from the float to the desert and build them on top of each other?
That’s not even the most difficult part, these stones were not cut like in today’s time to fit the sides of the pyramid. They were made according to the predesign by the architect. No tools. Only manpower. The manpower of workers who gave their life to build a tomb for a king who wanted to be comfortable and god-like life after death.
The King’s body was mummified over so many days and along with his body, everything he used and held dear on earth was prepared to be kept in the tomb, including his pets. Then his body, sarcophagus (similar to a coffin) and all his earthly possessions were put inside a golden crate, another crate to cover that one and then final one over the two. It was to keep it incredibly safe but also so, glorious to look at. It was like a mini apartment made for a King. All the gold, the precious stones, Egyptian art to decorate these crates-Truly a marvel!
If you really think about it, this marvel was forced to be made because one leader decided that he wanted to have the same comfort when he dies. That made me question the integrity of this thought. Was Pharaoh afraid of being alone? Where did he loyalty, affection and care lie? In his pets, chairs, ruby studded shoes and golden ornaments? And why this glorious structure for a tomb? So that his legacy may be known by all in the world as one who was great in command and wealthy in possession?
On hindsight, after the command of the Pharaoh, there were people who were forced to make the impossible come true in compromise of their soul. All the masonry, transport and establishment to the precise measurement was done by these workers who were commanded by Pharaoh’s officials. Now, don’t get me wrong, Pharaoh’s architects, Physicians and craftsmen were incredibly brilliant to map out such a wonder but at the cost of what? Another man’s blood and sweat?
Thinking about this fact, makes me question life. This structure was truly breath taking but to think that it was built on another man’s life bond makes me question justice and the need to have such a structure which we as humans are proud of. It is a progressive mark in history as this incredible piece of architecture came about at a time when there were no tools from today. The idea and vision behind such a wonder is truly commendable but at what cost?
At this site, there were people from different religions, countries, races and age groups. They had the freedom to worship, to marvel, to explore and to enjoy but for me, all I asked was if one leader commands greatness to happen in his land, to mark his legacy, will it be at the cost of helping or heeding the lives of his people? What marks the glory of a leader?