Category Archive 'Antiquities Vandalized'

30 Jan 2011

Antiquities Vandalized in Egypt

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Last year, the New York Metropolitan Museum returned 19 artifacts from the tomb of Tutankhamun. Back in 2003, the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Atlanta gave Egypt back the mummy of Ramses I.

Riding a wave of liberal guilt and political correctness, Egyptian officials have demanded that Western museums generally empty their Egyptian exhibitions and return antiquities recovered by Western scholarship. Targets for such demands have included the Rosetta Stone currently in the British Museum, the Berlin Museum’s bust of Queen Nefertiti, and a number of reliefs depicting a journey in the Afterlife from the Louvre. Only the Louvre has so far capitulated to Egyptian demands.

It ought to have been obvious that irreplaceable art objects and antiquities are more accessible to larger audiences and to scholars, and considerably safer, in museums located in the West.

Hyperallergic has a collection of photographs of the damage to the Egyptian Museum from Aljazeera.


This Red Alert from the security consultancy Stratfor suggests that security forces might have been behind the (clearly limited) vandalism to the museum, attempting to create a pretext, and support, for a crackdown on demonstrators.

The Egyptian police are no longer patrolling the Rafah border crossing into Gaza. Hamas armed men are entering into Egypt and are closely collaborating with the [Muslim Brotherhood]. The MB has fully engaged itself in the demonstrations, and they are unsatisfied with the dismissal of the Cabinet. They are insisting on a new Cabinet that does not include members of the ruling National Democratic Party.

Security forces in plainclothes are engaged in destroying public property in order to give the impression that many protesters represent a public menace. The MB is meanwhile forming people’s committees to protect public property and also to coordinate demonstrators’ activities, including supplying them with food, beverages and first aid.

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