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“This is the 'long awaited' sequel to the 'much discussed', already

published biography -
'So Long Ago, So Clear'.

In this sequel a much older Peter journeys to Egypt, and visits those
places that were familiar to, and much loved by his adoptive father, over
sixty years earlier.”


Ancient Thebes, now known as Luxor (in Arabic al-Uqsur) is a city in Upper (southern) Egypt
and the capital of Luxor Governorate.
The population numbers 376,022 (1999 survey), with an area of approximately 416 square
kilometres (161 sq mi) [1].
As the site of the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes, Luxor has frequently been characterized as
the "world's greatest open air museum", as the ruins of the temple complexes at Karnak and
Luxor stand within the modern city.
Immediately opposite, across the Nile River, lie the monuments, temples and tombs on the
West Bank Necropolis, which include the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens.
Thousands of international tourists arrive annually to visit these monuments, contributing a
large part towards the economy for the modern city.
Luxor was the ancient city of Thebes, the great capital of Egypt during the New Kingdom, and
the glorious city of the god Amun-Ra. The city was regarded in the Ancient Egyptian texts as
Waset , which meant or "city of the sceptre" and also as Taipet, meaning "the shrine". Taipet,
in the later Greek period, was called Thebai, and the Romans after them called the city
Thebes was also known as "the city of the 100 gates", sometimes being called "southern
Heliopolis" ('Iunu-shemaa' in Ancient Egyptian), to distinguish it from the city of Iunu or
Heliopolis, the main place of worship for the god Ra in the north.
It was also often referred to as niwat, which simply means "city", and was one of only three
cities in Egypt for which this noun was used (the other two were Memphis and Heliopolis); it
was also called niwat rst, "southern city", as the southernmost of them.
Luxor Temple

The importance of the city started as early as the 11th Dynasty, when the town grew into a
thriving city, renowned for its high social status and luxury, but also as a centre for wisdom,
art, religious and political supremacy.
Montuhotep II who united Egypt after the troubles of the first intermediate period brought
stability to the lands as the city grew in stature. The Pharaohs of the New Kingdom in their
expeditions to Kush, in today's northern Sudan, and to the lands of Canaan, Phoenicia, and
Syria saw the city accumulate great wealth and rose to prominence, even on a world scale.
Thebes played a major role in expelling the invading forces of the Hyksos from Upper Egypt,
and from the time of the 18th Dynasty through to the 20th Dynasty, the city had risen as the
major political, religious and military capital of Ancient Egypt.

The city attracted peoples such as the Babylonians, the Mitanni, the Hittites of Anatolia
(modern-day Turkey), the Canaanites of Ugarit, the Phoenicians of Byblos and Tyre, the
Minoans from the island of Crete.
A Hittite prince from Anatolia even came to marry with the widow of Tutankhamen,

The political and military importance of the city, however, faded during the Late Period, with
Thebes being replaced as political capital by several cities in Northern Egypt, such as
Bubastis, Sais and finally Alexandria.
However, as the city of the god Amun-Ra, Thebes remained the religious capital of Egypt
until the Greek period.
The main god of the city was Amun, who was worshipped together with his wife, the Goddess
Mut, and their son Khonsu, the God of the moon.
With the rise of Thebes as the foremost city of Egypt, the local god Amun rose in importance
as well and became linked to the sun god Ra, thus creating the new 'king of gods' Amun-Ra.
His great temple, at Karnak just north of Thebes, was the most important temple of Egypt
right until the end of antiquity.

Later, the city was attacked by Assyrian emperor Assurbanipal who installed the Libyan
prince on the throne, Psammetichus.
The city of Thebes was in ruins and fell in significance. However, Alexander the Great did
arrive at the temple of Amun, where the statue of the god was transferred from Karnak during
the Opet Festival, the great religious feast.
The grandeur of Thebes would still remain a site of spirituality, and attracted numerous
Christian monks in the Roman Empire who established monasteries amidst several ancient
monuments including the temple of Hatshepsut, now called Deir el-Bahri ("the northern
The economy of contemporary Luxor,
like that of many other Egyptian cities,
is heavily dependent upon tourism.
Large numbers of people also work in
agriculture, particularly sugarcane.
A bridge was opened in 1998, a few
kilometres upstream of the main town
of Luxor, allowing ready land access
from the East Bank to the West Bank.
Traditionally, however, river crossings
have been the domain of several ferry
services. The so-called 'local ferry' (also
known as the 'National Ferry') continues
to operate from a landing opposite the
Temple of Luxor.
Luxor, once Thebes, the capital of
Egypt, is now a city of hotels,
restaurants, bazaars and shops.

And did Thebes ever have a thousand gates – who knows ?

But rather less elevated than 'gates', there are thousands of doorways, and behind each
doorway there is an open hand, awaiting the 'filoos' (money), from the visitors. Money given
for various services – a tacky souvenir, a meal, a taxi ride, a boat trip or some kind of sex –
but often, in that inimitable 'Arab' way, particularly common in Egypt, money for no reason at
all. Money for 'old rope', or even less – money for nothing !
Peter's connection with Luxor goes back a long way. Long in time – but not long in time by
the standards of ancient Thebes, for whom a hundred years is less than a day.
Peter must have been about five years old when he first heard about Luxor – saw blurred,
black and white photos, and heard stories from his adoptive father. (see 'So Long Ago, So
As he grew older, Peter became fascinated by ancient history – partly as a result of lessons at
school, and partly as a result of 'epic films', so popular in the nineteen-fifties.
And in the public library, in Treaty Road, in Hounslow, Peter discovered, in the reading room
of that library, a series of volumes, by Howard Carter, replete with monochrome photos, of the
discovery of the tomb of the young king, Tutankhamen, in the valley of the Kings, (el Biban el
Peter devoured these photos, never thinking that he would see all those treasures in the Cairo
Museum, and would actually stand alone in the burial chamber of the legendary king.
Many years later, there was an exhibition of Tutankhamen's treasures in London, in the British
Museum. By then, however, Peter was far to busy to attend to the dreams of his childhood.
But when Peter's adoptive father died, Peter's thoughts turned to Egypt, and to Luxor, where
John Crawford had spent his 'leave' in Egypt.
It seemed to Peter that it was in Egypt that John had been truly happy – it was in that distant
land that John had found something that had ever afterwards eluded him.
And so, Peter decided to go to Luxor himself, - just to see if there was still any of that 'magic'
left in that most ancient of cities.

Arriving in Luxor in the 1990s was a daunting affair, and for Peter it was the first holiday that
he had ever taken on his own.

But, to return to the beginning.

What was John Stokes Crawford, the
adoptive father of Peter, doing in
Egypt all those years ago ?
It was the Second World War. It had
begun in 1945, and almost as soon as
it started, John Crawford was posted
to Cairo.
This, of course, was a Cairo very
different to the one that we see today.
It was the 'jewel of the middle east' –
an elegant and cultured city, ruled over
by a half-Egyptian King, the infamous Farouk Fuad,and a British
Ambassador to Egypt and High Commissioner for the Sudan, Sir
Miles Lampson, 1st Baron Killearn. While Farouk was
ostensibly king, with wide ranging powers to appoint and
dismiss prime-ministers and cabinets at will, it was undoubtedly
Lampson who kept 'the boy', as he derisively called Farouk, in
During the war Egypt was pivotal to Britain's strategy 'east of
Suez', and it was essential for the war effort that the canal
remained open, and available to the Allies, and that the Axis
powers were prevented from gaining control of the oil reserves
to the east of Egypt.
And it was for this reason that Lampson had to keep tight
control of Egypt, and 'keep the boy in check'.
Farouk, who was the great-great-grandson of Muhammad Ali
Pasha, was Albanian through his father's line, but Egyptian
through his mother's line, his mother being Nazli Sabri.
He had come to the throne at the tender age of 16, while attending the , Royal Military
Academy, Woolwich.
Generally neglected by his father, Fuad I, for whom he appeared to have litle respect and little
affection, Farouk, as a boy, was mainly brought up by the Italian servants favoured by the
royal household.
Because he had experienced a neglected, and possibly abusive childhood, when Farouk came
to the throne, rather like the equally
young Roman Emperor Caligular, he
began with the best intentions, but very
soon his lack of self control and
egocentricity began his slow moral and
physical decline, which eventually led
to his downfall, and subsequent exile.
Egpt, at the time was politically divided
between three main 'power-blocks' –
the King, the Residency, (the High
Commissioner Lampson), and the Wafd – the Wafd being the main, native political party.
Much of Farouk's time was spent trying to get control of the Wafd, - and Egypt's other
political parties; Iskra, the Jewish dominated Communist Party, the Muslim Brotherhood and
the Young Egypt Party, (under the leadership of Ahmed Husayn – and were known as the
Green Shirts and were an extreme right wing party).
Later, of course, Nasser's brutal dictatorship, and the
dictatorships' of his two sucessors put a stop to all such political
With the outbreak of the war, however, Farouk saw the
possibility of removing the British from the equation, although
the thought that the Facists or the Nazi's would undoubtedly be
more of a problem than the British had ever been, never seemed
to enter his head – he didn't seem to realize that to the Nazi's an
Egyptian was as much a non-Aryan Semite as a Jew, and so the
gas chambers would have a vast new influx of clients.
Undoubtedly Farouk was influenced by his Italian childhood
mentors, and was in the habit, during the war, of sending Hitler
little notes explaining how a German invasion would be welcome, and it was not until 1945,
when the war was in it's final throes, that Lampson finally
persuaded Farouk to declare war on the by then defeated Axis
Farouk was not the only one in Egypt eager for an Axis victory –
the Green Shirts, many in the Wafd and the Muslim Brotherhood,
and also many in the Army, including Nasser and Sadat, who were
at that time relatively junior officers, were also working,
sometimes covertly and sometimes openly for Britain's enemies –
who were also, paradoxically, Egypt's enemies.
And it was not only in Egypt that supposedly good Muslims were
working 'hand-in-glove' with the Nazis.
The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, haj
Amin Husseini, in British
controlled Palestine, was busily
creating anti-British feeling, while at the same time shuttling
back and forth to Berlin, to take tea with Her Hitler and chat
with Himmler.
So, when John Crawford arrived in Cairo, and took his tea in
Shepherd's Hotel, there was plenty of work waiting for him.
In retrospect then, it seems that the recently described 'Islamic
Fascism' is not such a new phenomenon after all, and that
'right-wing' extremism has had a long history in the Middle
And for those who now still long for the 'jackboot', they may be comforted to know that
Fascism – either of the Islamic kind – (bin Laden, Sayed Qutb etc.), or the Arab kind –
(Nasser, Saddam Hussein, Assad etc. ), is alive and well in the Middle East, despite all the
spurious talk of democracy !

Of the five infamous individuals pictured above, only two were of any interest to John
The first and undoubtedly most dangerous individual, Sayed Qutb (Kutb), was an effete,
closet homosexual teacher, with a ridiculous moustache - giving him the appearance of a poor
impersonator of Adolf Hitler, (with whom he shared many characteristics in common), or
Charles Chaplin.
Qutb, however, had not yet had his formative experiences in the USA at that time that John
Crawford was in Egypt, and so he was not politically active, and had not yet been noticed by
the intelligences services.
Qutb was to be more of a problem after his death, when his seminal work, 'Milestones',
became the inspiration for a whole generation of sexually, intellectually , economically and
socially frustrated young Muslim men.
Gamel abd el Nasser, and his fellow
conspirator, Mohammed Anwar Sadat
were another matter. - Hardly
'frustrated', they had both risen far
higher than they humble origins would
have predicted – (thanks to the
Both were junior officers in the
Egyptian Army, and both men were
suspected of supplying the Axis
powers with militarily sensitive
information which would be to the
disadvantage of the Allies, and both were put under the surveillance of the British Military
Sadat, half Egyptian and half Sudanese, had been brought up with stories of Egyptian
resistance to British rule as a boy, and had been particularly affected by stories and songs
about the Denshway incident. In addition he idolised Kemal Ataturk, and admired what to
him was the efficiency and modernity of the Nazis in Germany.
For these reasons Sadat was more actively involved in attempting to undermine the Allied war
effort than Nasser, who was far more 'dreamy' and idealistic – at least in those early days.
The result of all this was an uncomfortable meeting between Sadat and John Crawford, when
the latter was 'hauled in', and arrested by the British Military Intelligence.
Having already met 'the boy' (Farouk), this was John Crawford's opportunity to meet one of
'the boy's' supposedly loyal officers.
Actually John and Mohammed seemed to 'hit it off' – a surprising combination, to say the least
– but this did not prevent Sadat from spending sometime in a British cell.
And Nasser ? Well they met, but John Crawford was unable to fathom Nasser. Nasser was too
Siedee, too southern, and too idealistic, - rather like a somewhat aloof schoolmaster.


So peter arrived in Luxor, waking up on his first morning in the relative comfort of the 'Etap'


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