Saturday, March 05, 2011

Zahi Hawass and the Museum Giftshop

Talking Pyramids (Vincent Brown)

Vincent has written a fascinating piece about the politics surrounding the gift ship of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Here's his introduction:

The new Museum gift shop that was looted during the recent revolution in Egypt has been a subject of ongoing controversy. In official reports from the International Council of Museums (ICOM) and the Egypt Cultural Heritage Organisation (ECHO) it was stated by the former director of the museum of Egyptian Antiquities (2004-2010) Mrs Wafaa el-Saddik, that the looting of the new gift shop was an inside job, carried out by the museum’s own security and Egyptian Police dressed in plain clothes.

More evidence of internal corruption has come to light in the past few weeks concerning the gift shop and Dr Zahi Hawass’ involvement. Simply put, the opening of the Museum’s new gift shop on the 15th of December last year is in violation of a court verdict.

What follows is a detailed description of events surrounding the establishment of the museum’s new gift shop based on accounts by Egyptian publisher, photographer, writer and printer, Mr Farid Atiya who was directly involved.


AliceG said...

Andie, the full article says that Hawass has resigned and will probably spend a year in jail as a result of the mess with the new gift shop!!!!!!!! Did we miss his resignation?

Andie said...

No, we didn't miss it. I posted about it. Kate Taylor on the New York Times had a telephone interview with him. See the link here:
It was also posted previously on another website in Arabic.

There have since been doubts about whether or not this is true. And even if it IS true, he is only indicating retirement from his position as Minister, not from the antiquities service as a whole.

Re the giftshop fiasco, I wouldn't be surprised if this comes to nothing, even with the available evidence. Hawass denies it all and he should have his day in court before he is judged, if that ever happens.

We'll just have to wait and see.

AliceG said...

I read that to say that he WOULD quit. But that article said that HAD quit. Last paragraph, I think.

Andie said...

I think that it is a waiting game. We'll just have to see what happens. As I said, even if he has officially quit his office in the government he may not leave the antiquities department. Things in Egypt are so dynamic at the moment that I take everything I hear with a big pinch of salt.

Anonymous said...

he should have no right to decide for himself anymore whether he 'resigns' or not. he has lost his credibility now, regardless of guilt. he is done in the publics eyes, forever tainted, 'outed' as connected to/part of the corruption. good riddance to another self-server in the employ of people who don't want the world to know about the real egypt (seriously, 10 years to send another robot up the shaft?! i think not). supporting him is supporting lies of all kinds...