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The land of the dead

September 29th, 2004 · 1 Comment

Earlier this week, the girls and I read Tut’s Mummy by Judy Donnelly, a story of Tutankhamen’s funeral and Howard Carter’s 1922 discovery of the tomb. Abigail and Michaela seemed to like it and asked me to read it again and again. I was a bit perplexed by their fascination, but then I remembered how I had been impressed as a child when I had seen King Tut’s treasures on tour in Seattle. The thought of a 200 pound golden coffin is amazing in itself, nevermind the other rooms of exquisite Egyptian riches.

Reading about King Tut opened a discussion about life after death. We talked about what we believe happens when we die. Do we believe that souls go to the Land of the Dead? Should we pack possessions to take with us into the afterlife? What is important now and later?

Today I played the radio while driving home. The girls have heard about Haiti with the hurricane news. I am also trying to teach them some geography. So when this clip about Haiti started on NPR’s Day to Day, I listened.

But as soon as the first question came, I had to turn it off.

NPR’s Noah Adams asked:

tell us please…about the bodies that have been buried in the mass graves, sometimes bodies have been carried by dump trucks..

I turned it off for the children. But they had caught the words. From the back seat, they started talking about bodies in dump trucks.

I also turned it off for myself. I shouldn’t drive and grieve at the same time. The image of bodies buried in mass graves with dump trucks brought me to tears. It reminded me both of the Holocaust and Tutankhamen at the same time.

Contrast King Tut who was buried inside an elaborate tomb within a golden coffin with piles of dead Haitians carried in dump trucks to mass graves. What kind of world is this?

I don’t believe in the Land of the Dead that the Egyptians pursued during the time of King Tut. But I have to believe that there is life after death. I have to hope that injustice in life and death will be rectified by justice in a life to come.

Tags: news

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Katherine // Sep 29, 2004 at 7:44 am

    Emily loved the same Tut book when we did Egypt last year.