Zahi's blog on what happened at the Egyptian Museum.

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Zahi's blog on what happened at the Egyptian Museum.

Post by Lisak »

Copy and pasted from Zahi's blog. (he is as modest as ever during this!)

The Situation in Egyptian Antiquities Today
On Friday, January 28, 2011, when the protest marches began in Cairo, I heard that a curfew had been issued that started at 6.00pm on Friday evening until 7.00am on Saturday morning. Unfortunately, on that day the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, was not well guarded. About a thousand people began to jump over the wall on the eastern side of the museum into the courtyard. On the western side of the museum, we recently finished something I was very proud of, a beautiful gift shop, restaurant and cafeteria. The people entered the gift shop and stole all the jewellery and escaped; they thought the shop was the museum, thank God! However, ten people entered the museum when they found the fire exit stairs located at the back of it.

As every one knows, the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, is naturally lit and due to the architectural style of it, there are glass windows on its roof. The criminals broke the glass windows and used ropes to get inside, there is a distance of four metres from the ceiling to the ground of the museum. The ten people broke in when I was at home and, although I desperately wanted to go to the museum, I could not leave my house due to the curfew. In the morning, as soon as I woke up, I went directly there. When I arrived, I found out that, the night before, three tourist police officers had stayed there overnight because they were not able to get out before the curfew was put in place. These officers, and many young Egyptians who were also there, helped to stop more people from entering the museum. Thankfully, at 10.00pm on Friday night, the army arrived at the museum and gave additional security assistance.
I found out that one criminal was still at the museum, too. When he had asked the people guarding the museum for water, they took his hands and tied him to the door that lead to the gift shop so that he could not escape! Luckily, the criminals who stole the jewellery from the gift shop did not know where the jewellery inside the museum is kept. They went into the Late Period gallery but, when they found no gold, they broke thirteen vitrines and threw the antiquities on the floor. Then the criminals went to the King Tutankhamun galleries. Thank God they opened only one case! The criminals found a statue of the king on a panther, broke it, and threw it on the floor. I am very thankful that all of the antiquities that were damaged in the museum can be restored, and the tourist police caught all of the criminals that broke into it. On Saturday, the army secured the museum again and guarded it from all sides. I left the museum at 3.00pm on Saturday, 29, 2011.
What is really beautiful is that not all Egyptians were involved in the looting of the museum. A very small number of people tried to break, steal and rob. Sadly, one criminal voice is louder than one hundred voices of peace. The Egyptian people are calling for freedom, not destruction. When I left the museum on Saturday, I was met outside by many Egyptians, who asked if the museum was safe and what they could do to help. The people were happy to see an Egyptian official leave his home and come to Tahrir Square without fear; they loved that I came to the museum.
The curfew started again on Saturday afternoon at 4.00pm, and I was receiving messages all night from my inspectors at Saqqara, Dahsur, and Mit Rahina. The magazines and stores of Abusir were opened, and I could not find anyone to protect the antiquities at the site. At this time I still do not know what has happened at Saqqara, but I expect to hear from the inspectors there soon. East of Qantara in the Sinai, we have a large store containing antiquities from the Port Said Museum. Sadly, a large group, armed with guns and a truck, entered the store, opened the boxes in the magazine and took the precious objects. Other groups attempted to enter the Coptic Museum, Royal Jewellery Museum, National Museum of Alexandria, and El Manial Museum. Luckily, the foresighted employees of the Royal Jewellery Museum moved all of the objects into the basement, and sealed it before leaving.
My heart is broken and my blood is boiling. I feel that everything I have done in the last nine years has been destroyed in one day, but all the inspectors, young archaeologists, and administrators, are calling me from sites and museums all over Egypt to tell me that they will give their life to protect our antiquities. Many young Egyptians are in the streets trying to stop the criminals. Due to the circumstances, this behaviour is not surprising; criminals and people without a conscience will rob their own country. If the lights went off in New York City, or London, even if only for an hour, criminal behaviour will occur. I am very proud that Egyptians want to stop these criminals to protect Egypt and its heritage.
At this time, the Internet has not been restored in Egypt. I had to fax this statement to my colleagues in Italy for it to be uploaded in London on my website.


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Post by Horus »

So the museum looting was even worse than was first reported on the news media, Glad to see that our Zahi was on the job protecting everything personally, his modesty knows no bounds. :lol: :lol:
Of course to counter any future arguement that any artifacts returned to Egypt may now be at risk, he has to insert the little bit about it also happening in New York or London if the lights went out :roll:
Yea, right on Zahi old son, we believe you 8)
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Post by Lisak »

I'm also wondering how HE can manage to recieve phone calls when everyone else has had so much trouble with the networks being blocked!
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Post by Bearded Brian »

He probably has either a) his own network or b) a satallite telephone - don't think they are that easy to block but I could be wrong.
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Post by LovelyLadyLux »

Thanks Lisak for posting this. I appreciate it. WHERE did you find Zahi's blog?

It comes as no suprise to me that he has one! ;) I've just never, until now, cared that much to read what he personally might be thinking or doing! ;)

The guy maybe arrogant BUT BUT BUT I, for one, have always appreciated the efforts he has put forth in his work. He is ardently impassioned by what he does....Again I appreciate that you posted this as am sure it gives much more credibility to what IS happening with the Museum. I love that place!!!
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Post by jewel »

Oh dear I guess that a few people will be disappointed that he may not be at the lecture in manchester? :?
Dr Hawass is supposed to be at the Bridgewater Hall on Friday, 4 February 2011, to give a public multimedia lecture lasting 90 minutes.
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Post by Lisak »

Just for LLL

http://www.drhawass.com/new

I guess it depends if there are flights or not as to whether he will be there or not.
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Post by jewel »

Its very sad that the people are destroying their heritage....the equivalent of us here in Uk destroying our cathedrals or westminster abbey, there will be nothing left of their history and then what will they have?? :?


The protesters should look to themselves to provide a new democratic direction for Egypt.................it is a shame to resort to such measures
and it turns outside sympathy into anger.These artifacts aren't just Egyptian Treasures they are World Treasures. Show your prime minister you can have a lawful & peaceful country without his regimes, instead of showing the world how you will act without them being in place.
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Post by Horus »

Someone always grabs the power :) if it is not Mubarak it will be someone else. A new regime will take over and before too long they will either be oppressing the people with their ideology or more likely lining their own pockets with the pillaged wealth of the nation they purport to represent. 8)
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Post by jewel »

And the real problem it may be much, much worse than the regime they have now and they may regret Mubarak going although I suspect there are those who would welcome it....no names but it begins with I and ends in N.........................
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Post by LovelyLadyLux »

Thanks Lisak! One of the great loves of life (in terms of location) has been going to that Museum!
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Post by Jayway »

A-Four wrote - Zawi was promoted to MINISTER.Now, the entire Mubarak cabinet has been sacked. Zawi was on Sky tv being interviewed . His title had changed from minister to Archeologist ! ! - :)
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Post by jewel »

So long as its not "President" things should be ok :lol:

Someone - I think it was that maajid Nawaaz from Quilliam foundation in an interview on sky kept calling Hosni Mabarak Barak Obama ....not once but several times!! It was really quite funny.
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Post by Lisak »

Bit like Tony Blair earlier getting his Egypts and Israels mixed up eh?
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Post by jewel »

:lol:
Wait a mo though...........President Zahi Hawass, mmmm it has a certain ring about it mind :)
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Post by LovelyLadyLux »

Has anybody heard any recent updates about the Museum? I realize the situation but nothing has been reported on the Museum here that I can find - just wondering if anybody has heard any recent updates?
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Post by Horus »

As it is now under the protection of the army it should be fairly safe. there were a few close calls with Molotov coctails during the serious clashes, but nothing serious from what I can make out. It is also worth saying that by and large the Egyptian people treasure their heritage and would not willingly damage the museum, although there are always rogue elements that bring shame to any country.
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Post by LovelyLadyLux »

I agree H that the majority of Egyptians care deeply about their heritage and are very proud of it. Some of the last reports heard here were that the Egyptian people were standing around the perimeter linked arm in arm to protect it - however - there were also random reports of Mummy heads being ripped of an vandalized along with some Tut statues etc THEN all reports stopped.

Thanks for the updates tho ..........appreciated.
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Post by Lisak »

I think Zahi has a day to day update on his blog....how much you believe of that is up to you as there has been a few other reports come out especially about Saqqara with differing views and reports to Mr Howass!
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Post by Horus »

As I said earlier, he has a vested interest in playing down any vandalism or looting of artifacts :) It would totally destroy his case for returning Antiquities to Egypt in the futeure as national museums could claim to be protecting them better and he does not want that. ;)
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