Saturday, 24 August 2013

Egypt: When was Mallawi Museum Looted?

There is some disagreement amongst those discussing it about exactly when the Mallawi Museum was raided. Some western accounts suggest the museum was looted between Wednesday and Thursday (14th/15th) and others Thursday to Friday (15th/16th). I've been looking into it and it is reasonably clear that the looting began in the afternoon of Wednesday 14th August. The version that it happened on Thursday comes from a single account in the English version of Al-Ahram ("1040 Malawi artefacts looted from Upper Egyptian museum amid riot" Friday 16 Aug 2013) which I would not mind betting has been mistranslated. Possibly from the fact that photographer Roger Anis who recorded the aftermath also claimed that "it was ransacked and looted between the evening of Thursday, Aug. 15 and the morning of Friday, Aug. 16, 2013" means that this was the height of the vandalism of what was left of the museum rather than the systematic emptying of the cases. It should be noted that one of the first reports was from Egypt's Heritage Task Force 'live' on Facebook  (14 August 2013 at 23:20):
Looting Update: The Mallawi Museum has been broken into and is being looted since 3 PM 
So the break-in and looting started at three in the afternoon of Wednesday 14th August 2013, but it would seem that the mob broke in (shooting the guard) on Thursday and began smashing the place up? 

Vignette: UNESCO

UPDATE 25th September
Not a mistranslation, Al-Ahram really does want us to think the looting happened on Thursday. So all the reports of it being in progress on 14th were prophetic, you see?   [Nevine El-Aref, 'More looted artefacts from Malawi National Museum recovered'  Al-Ahram , Sunday 25 Aug 2013] ("Some 16 objects reported missing from Malawi National Museum in Upper Egypt after it was looted 15 August have been recovered"). That's the twelve that were recovered earlier and another four.

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