Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Egypt Should Flog off the Past?

'Egypt is overflowing with antiquities. So much so that they are stuffed away to moulder in warehouses, sometimes forgotten and allowed to deteriorate, never to be seen again by the public or by researchers' writes Patrick Werr ('Selling precious artefacts could top up Egypt’s coffers', The National March 29, 2017).
Why not package up some of these artefacts and organise their sale to foreigners or Egyptians, complete with documents telling the buyer where the item was found and why it is significant? The government could add tens of millions of dollars to its coffers each year. [...] The objects could be given official registration with papers, which would make them more valuable on the international market since their provenance would be documented, making them legally tradable. 
And how long will they remain associated with such papers? Is this not a model too close to the PAS? Where could it go wrong, eh?

In any case, such moves should gain the approval of the main stakeholder, the general public in Egypt, it is their identity at stake:
It will probably not happen. Last week a television station asked in an online poll if Egypt should sell antiquities to solve its economic crisis. Critics of the government immediately went on the attack, accusing it of being behind the poll. Said one online opposition newspaper: "After the regime sold the country ... it’s going to sell our history and civilisation."

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