Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Saturday, February 05, 2011

Finally today I do not want to hear this nonsense about our image abroad and how much better it would be for our image abroad if he should end his term in office and then leave, because I can tell you first-hand that we have never ever before been so admired and so respected throughout the whole world as we are now because of this peaceful civil and extremely honourable revolution. I have never been more proud to be Egyptian and I have never been encountered with so many words of encouragement and admiration as in these last 10 days, and I've been an Egyptian for a while now, so please take my word for it.
By Mohamed Ghoneim on Facebook and reported by BBC News.  I wanted to report it because it seems to sum up the situation for me.  I think many of us with an interest in Egypt and Egyptology, watching avidly from overseas, have been really impressed by the conduct of the pro-democracy movement in general, and the actions of ordinary Egyptians and SCA staff in protecting monuments, museums and magazines.

I have been following pretty much all reports of damage to sites.  Some people are suggesting that the looting and illegal digging which has occurred proves that antiquities should be removed overseas for their own safety.  I totally disagree.  Personally I think that Egyptians have proved, and perhaps for the first time, that they are truly ready to be custodians of their amazingly rich cultural heritage. I think it would be amazingly disrespectful to those Egyptians who have risked injury to protect site like Karnak Temple and the Egyptian Museum to suggest otherwise.

I have brought the Egyptological Looting Database up to date again.  All  of today's news was encouraging, particularly from Saqqara where the damage may be significantly less than we feared, as I reported earlier.  I do struggle, however, because there are stark differences between various reports and until matters can be verified by independent Egyptologists, some doubts must remain.  At the present time, the largest current worries are still South Saqqara and Abusir.

In separate news, Jane Akshar has reported that the British  Consul in Luxor is going to recommend changing the UK travel advice for Luxor.  It would be good to get tourists back into Luxor and on Nile cruises.  As well as bringing much-needed income to the residents of Upper Egypt who depend on tourist dollars, in the current climate tourists are probably a normalising influence. An early decision is important as it could materially change the level of bookings for the key summer period.



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