Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Saturday, February 19, 2011

This is another BBC radio broadcast.  The main segment starts at 26:14. It doesn't add much new but we do have the oddity of a BBC journalist saying (starting 28:34) that the Egyptian Museum was well-protected against theft but Dr Hawass sharply contradicts.  It's a strange world when an official's reputation is best defended by saying that a museum he was responsible for was vulnerable to illegal entry.  Again, Hawass says that had it been an inside job, they would have taken a masterpiece ... erm, not famous statues of Tutankhamun then.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

We get it. You want Hawass fired. Can you leave the sarcasm out of the news posts?

Kate Phizackerley said...

Actually what really irritates me is his suggestion that the two Tutankhamun statues and the Akhenaten one are not masterpieces because they surely are, especially Tutankhamen carried by the goddess. And I suspect anyone who loves sculpture is as offended as me every time he denies that some of the pieces smashed and stolen were masterworks. They are probably irretrievably broken: the least he could do is respect the long-dead artists who made such beautiful pieces.

Charles Green said...

He should do the honourable thing and resign: Museum security was his responsibility. He failed to maintain it, albeit under exceptional circumstancs, but the aftermath and the confusion are definitely his responsibilty. Doubtless there is some shame and embarassment that world heritage treasures have been destroyed by an ignorant mob, but the damage is done and should not be compounded by bluster.

Anonymous said...

Im with you 100% on this one Kate! The collection is unique and priceless, all of it is irreplacable and it is bigger than any one individual. Hawass has failed to secure sufficient funds from the huge amount that comes into the coffers to protect the museum properly and has instead embarked on a massive expansionist phase by building new museums all over the country. I could understand the odd remote site ie the far side of Saquara being difficult to fully protect but this is the creme of the collection right in the heart of Cairo and should have been treated with more dignity and respect. Instead we get as Charles rightly says Bluster and i would add mis direction, Daveh

Patrick said...

I also agree with you, Kate. Obviously it is not our job to tell the Egyptian nation what to do about Hawass or how to deal with the inefficiency, manipulation and corruption within the SCA, which the Egyptians themselves have denounced over the last few days. But to behave like ostriches and simply ignore the facts does not seem to be a very sensible approach.

John Bright said...

This is all disappointing. At one stage, the romantic in me imagined Zahi Hawass standing alone defending the museum like a modern day Horatius holding the bridge. Alas, that does not seem to be the case. If he has to go, he should be allowed to depart with dignity as a mark of respect for how he has raised the profile of Egyptian Egyptologists.

Anonymous said...

Many reports are commenting on how none of Tunisia's museums were broken into during their regime change. Not sure if that was because of inherent respect for their heritage from the people, or because of superior security measures.

Shattering news was just how extensive has been the Ben Ali's & extended family's pillaging and despoiling of the Carthage sites. And how Roman artefacts, tiles, mosaics and frescoes have been looted from Tunisia's national museums to decorate the Ben Ali family villas and palaces. The Art Newspaper's Marisa Mazria Katz's Feb 16th online report is depressingly illustrated with a photo of an antiquity statue head decorating a Ben Ali daughter's villa swimming pool.

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