Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Egypt may have a "new" Minister of Antiquities

After all the uncertainty and false reports, it is difficult to know how much weight to give this. I really hope this is true. Al-Ahram is reporting:
Zahi Hawass‎, chief of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, announced that he had been re-‎appointed as Minster of Antiquities following a meeting with Prime Minister Essam Sharaf ‎on Wednesday. ‎
(Margaret Maitland reports it is also announced by the Egyptian Cabinet on Twitter)

If true, best of luck to him in his new role. Let us assume that the PM gave him assurances about support from other state institutions, such as the police to help provide protection from sites and to help eject those who have taken advantage of the breakdown in law and order following January 25th to illegally encroach on them. The lack of a person filling this post for so long has hampered many attempts to re-establish some order in this area, let us hope that (if true) this appointment will remove the uncertainties which have been exploited by the unscrupulous and led to so much damage being done to sites, collections and monuments in Egypt.

Despite my own criticism of certain elements of what Hawass' has said in past weeks, I think this is a good resolution. Egypt needs a forceful person in charge in these troubled times of social and economic (?) change. One other reason why I am glad is to spite all those unreasonable hate-driven Facebook egyptologists and others who (after they thought he'd vanished from the scene) obviously regarded "saving and restoring the Egyptian Museum" or whatever as about unfairly attacking the guy personally and calling him names. They underestimated him. Now let us see all those who have been busily viciously and unfairly attacking him pledging their willingness to work with him to protect the archaeological heritage.

UPDATE: A few hours after this was posted it seems to be official, Zahi Hawass is again the new Minister of Antiquities.

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