Monday, 2 July 2012

Singing From the Same Songbook: Censorship on El Hibeh?

The 'Save El Hibeh, Egypt' Facebook page has lost steam in recent weeks. After a bit of "how could they?" fuming, it has become clear that nothing has changed there and nothing will be changing for a while. So it has turned into a venue for backslapping, self-congratulation that, even if nothing was achieved, someone 'spoke out'. There was a flurry of this when filmed interview went on US TV (duly reported here). Over in Washington, Peter Tompa had a different take on the whole affair. Readers of my blog will know what I generally think of Mr Tompa's ideas, but he put forward an alternative view of what the reportage had presented. I assumed that - however valid it is - members of the group, some of whom come from an academic background, might be interested to learn and frankly discuss what a dissenter says. In fact Tompa suggested some causes of the looting which (whatever I myself think about it) were indeed worthy of wider discussion, linking it to his perception of the conditions on the ground, in Egypt, and the reasons behind the phenomenon the website was set up to combat. So I posted it up on the El Hibeh Campaign Facebook page with a link to Tompa's blog. There was a comment (rather a vague "wow" from one member) and two people "liked" it. But this morning the whole thread has gone. Why? A Facebook glitch or are the excavators of El Hibeh (who set up the page) so unsure of themselves that they cannot contemplate people discussing the situation except from the framework which they themselves define and police? 

There was also a pretty pertinent question on the discovery of a tomb which I would have thought would have been in the interests of the excavators of the site to actually answer. I see none of them have yet sent a comment to his blog post in response.

UPDATE 2nd June 2012 evening:

 It would seem it is not currently possible for me to access to the "Save El Hibeh"  facebook page. Another "Facebook glitch" or an acknowledgement that free discussion will not be tolerated by those who run it? If the former, it casts further doubt on the suitability of the Facebook venue for any sort of serious advocacy. I have written to the group "owners' in the hope of receiving some sort of clarification.

If the latter, I would like to point out to Dr Redmount, or whoever, that I was one of the earliest members of her group, and as can be seen on these pages have consistently given it support and a lot of publicity.  I do feel that the way forward is working together but feel that there is no place in efforts to secure better conservation of the heritage (or archaeology in general) for censorship or a refusal to engage in a frank and reasoned exchange of opposing views. Such discussion should involve all stakeholders, which includes the Egyptians, archaeologists as well as her fellow countrymen who collect antiquities and have their views on the supply of antiquities to the market. I posted a link to Tompa's text on the El Hibeh Facebook page in the (false it seems) hope that there would be some sensible discussion of the theses promoted there among the group's members. That there was none suggests that this was not the purpose for which people are there and for which its initiators set it up. So what is it for?  I'll leave that up to Mr Tompa to discuss.

No comments:

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.