Throughout its history, Egypt's governments were concerned at its northeastern border both to keep would-be fugitives in and to keep would-be migrants and invaders out. Adopting a system of structural violence that bears similarity to America's policy of Prevention Through Deterrence on its southern border, the government fortified and policed the easiest points of entry across its official borders. Beyond that, however, it guarded water sources and relied upon the North Sinai desert to kill or grievously injure any intruders that ventured to cross it. This article considers the parallels between policies of border control in ancient Egypt and those currently practiced by the United States government with respect to Mexico. Moreover, it argues that the Sinai desert served as a shatter zone for the Pharaonic state and that local residents thus had the power either to sabotage or to bolster the efforts of a regime to secure its border.

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