Saturday, January 29, 2011

More updates - I'll just keep adding to this post tonight

22:55- I am currently glued to Al Jazeera's live reporting of the situation in Egypt on the web (where they provided an interesting profile of the new Vice President). Hawass is shown, again, saying that last night a few people entered the Cairo museum from above, but good Eyptians and some of the Tourist Police managed to control the situation. In addition the report says that the ruling party headquarters next door to the Museum is still on fire so the museum is still at risk. The screen grab to the left is from Al Jazeera's video feed.

22:24 - Al Jazeera has reported that the ruling party headquarters has been "torched" in Luxor.

21:55 - Al Jazeera's live feed showed Hawass speaking on a live feed on Al Jazeera about the Egyptian Museum break-in, talking about the damage already mentioned and confirming that the looters came into the museum from the top of the building. Other reports talked about the Giza pyramids being closed off and tourists returning to the UK (and others continuing to engage in tourism in Cairo), plus scenes of the protests themselves. The programme may be archived - I'll keep an eye on it. Some of it is quite hair raising, if you get the chance to watch.

21:29 - Al Masry Al Youm has added to the stories about the looters in the Egyptian Museum, saying that one of their reporters has seen the damage first-hand. The article says that the looters were 9 convicts who tried to steal the two mummies, which broke up as they tried to take them towards the exit. According to the report Hawass says that although the glass covers of cabinets were smashed nothing has been stolen, including items of jewellry that was in some of the cases. Hawass believes that the broken items can be restored. The report says that he has expressed concern about other museums and the lack of security available to defend them. It goes on to say that Gihane Zaki (Professor of Egyptology at the Faculty of Tourism and Director of International Cooperation at the Supreme Council of Antiquities) said, that he is "extremely worried" about the two museums for which he has responsibility, "the Nubian Museum and the one in Fustat."

- More photos from the damage to exhibits in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

18:45 - The mind truly boggles, but Kate Phizackerley has seen other reports (see her post, with photo), that artefacts from the tomb of Tutankhamun have been damaged, some apparently quite seriously. She references a post on The Eloquent Peasant blog (Margaret Maitland) which has photos from Al Jazeera which appear to show some of these damaged items.

18:28 - My father has just phoned to say that the BBC News onTV reports that the Coptic Museum has been looted but that Copts have gathered to protect it.

18: 18 - The Associated Press (thanks Rhio) has quoted Hawass saying that he is worried about the blazing building next door falling on the Egyptian Museum. In addition it adds to the story that two mummies were damaged by looters, saying that 10 small artefacts had been removed from cases and damaged, and that the gift shop was cleaned out.

The AP also quote Kent Weeks from Luxor:
Archaeologist Kent Weeks, who is in the southern temple town of Luxor, said that rumors that attacks were planned against monuments prompted authorities to erect barriers and guard Karnak Temple while tanks were positioned around Luxor's museum.


Natalia K. said...

Which one mummies? Do you know something more?

Anonymous said...

Resemblance of the devastation in the Iraq museum comes to mind when hearing about this. Big concern when security can not be secured anymore.

AliceG said...

I'm sick. There is no need for any damage. Stealing is one thing. At least it's still in one piece. But to smash something that old just to be smashing it.............. I can not fathom the mind of the jerks who do that. what was it somebody called people like that? Thugs, I think. Stupid, idiot thugs. I'd like to smash them the same way and I'm not a violent person. At least there are some citizens who care. And they're destroying their own economy to boot.

Andie said...

There are always people who will take advantage of a genuine protest to profit for themselves. It is a tragedy that sometimes the message of the protestors is undermined by the ghastly behaviour of an opportunistic minority.

AliceG said...

But there's no profit in destroying something. Stealing is one thing. Just destroying for the sake of destroying is sick. Demonstrate is one thing. Destroy? I will never understand it. And it's their own property that they're destroying. Stupid people. Mob rule.

Andie said...

Hi Alice. I think, reading the articles, that the intention was to steal, but the thieves were disturbed by the Tourism Police and the items were consquently destroyed. Difficult to tell, it has to be said!

Andie said...

Natalia - No, I'm afraid not, sorry. As I get more information I'll update the blog but there are only odds and ends coming out of Egypt at the moment. It does *not* sound, from the announcement by Hawass, that they were any of the better known mummies but that's pure speculation.

Anonymous said...

This is upsetting! I too have been watching the events, I streamed Al Jazeera and heard that protesters had formed a human chain around the museum to protect it from looting.

I can understand the mentality of the protesters, it's one thing to attack your government out of hate for the dominant party, its another thing to senselessly rob and attack your own historical treasures. A similar thing happened in Iraq and very little was ever returned.

Please keep us up to date!

Anonymous said...

Al Jazeera NOW reporting - looters on motorcycle s caught by citizens. The moto-loote r-thugs have government issued weapons, and ids. Speculatio n - corrupt opportunis ts, or provocateu rs. Either way - "party NDP thugs"”

- Not yet proven, it could have been the government hoping to provoke a less-purposed riot or lose support internationally.

Anonymous said...

Are the Egyptologists and Archaeologists working throughout the Country safe or are they being forced to leave and head home?

Kate Phizackerley said...

Natalia the identity and condition of the two mummies is tantalising. Apparently the AP film crew saw them but I've not managed to find footage and their own description seems just to be of two "vandalised" mummies. We can hope they are not as badly damaged as feared.

The fact they were damaged, "beheaded" is the word being used", suggests plain wrapped mummies, not ones in fancy cases. They were being stolen, so probably trophy standard mummies. There really is no news but right now I'd fear famous pharaohs.

We have to hope the details come out soon.

Kate Phizackerley said...

My previous comment could be wrong. Commenting on News from the Valley of the Kings, Tim Reid thinks that it is Thuya's cartonnage on the floor beneath her coffin and is worried there might be a bit of mummy next to that. I need to take another look myself but if he's right, one of the mummies could be Thuya.

(Just look in the right sidebar of NVOK for Tim's comment.)
Speculation of course.

Andie said...

In answer to the most recent anonymous post, as far as I can gather all foreigners working in the protest areas have been advised to stay indoors and today the US has been advising its citizens to leave. I think that that the answer is that they are safe as long as they steer clear of the protests, but how things will change over the next new days we will just have to wait and see.

Anonymous said...

Did the protesters attack any mummies?
If not, Thank God!

Coptic News and Archive said...

Hi Andie - Having just returned from Cairo, meeting up with Coptic colleagues and friends and co workers etc (I left just days before the eruption, and left a city with the feeling it was about to erupt) - I am in contact via various means and am keeping a regular update on my facebook page.. I will also place a link there to here and hopefully we can cover the latest news from Egypt - Power to the people!!
Howard Middleton-Jones