The relatively short history of Cairo's Unknown Soldier monument not only reminds us that national monuments, however “eternal” they may appear to many who grew up with them and were taught to believe in a ‘natural’ connection between the symbol and its referent, are always works in progress. These texts are being written, sometimes erased, and always appropriated and overwritten by other contemporaries and in subsequent generations. It also points to the different layers of historical signification that may reside in one and the same symbol: while it seems likely that the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, because of its central element for contemporary Egyptian identity (representing the biggest Arab military victory over Israel, at least as Egyptians see it) will remain an important national symbol for Egyptians in the future; it has already changed its symbolic valuation several times in barely three decades. Moreover, even in its original form, in 1975, it was already a variant of a tradition, since it combined the concept of the “Unknown Soldier” monument with that of another, the commemorative mural.
|Title of host publication||Material Evidence and Narrative Sources|
|Subtitle of host publication||Interdisciplinary Studies of the History of the Muslim Middle East|
|Editors||Daniella Talmon-Heller, Katia Cytryn-Silverman|
|Publisher||Brill Academic Publishers|
|Number of pages||17|
|State||Published - 1 Jan 2015|
|Name||Islamic History and Civilization|