The new Egyptian ruins

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If tourism persists at the current rate in Egypt, the Sphinx may soon need more than just a nose job. NEW SCIENTIST reports that tourists are destroying prehistoric sites in Egypt’s Western Desert with a recklessness never seen before. “Unless urgent measures are taken, Egypt will be left with not one prehistoric site intact,” said Rudolph Kuper of the University of Cologne.

Egypt has already lost all the known prehistoric sites along the Nile valley to land reclamation and building projects. Now, a crisis is building in the Wadi Sura, or “Valley of Pictures,” where visitors are pouring water over paintings — some of which are 7,000 years old — to make them more easily visible. This draws salt to the surface and makes the paintings erode faster. Tour operators have been no help, either — their off-road vehicles are scattering artifacts at thousands of unexcavated sites.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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