Thursday, August 25, 2011

More re Mohamed Abdel Fattah, the replacement for Hawass

New York Times (Kate Taylor)

Mohamed Abdel Fattah, the head of the antiquities sector at the Supreme Council of Antiquities, will become the council’s secretary general, the position Mr. Hawass held before former President Hosni Mubarak elevated the council to a ministry. Mr. Sharaf had previously indicated that he planned to return the council to its former status.

Mr. Abdel Fattah’s positions are not well-known, and reaction to his appointment, which was first reported last week in the Egyptian press, has so far been muted. He was quoted by the Egyptian newspaper Al Masry Al Youm as pledging to resolve disagreements among the council’s leadership and root out corruption. He said he would complete several unfinished construction projects, while cautioning that others would have to be postponed because of a lack of money. Much of the council’s budget comes from ticket sales to museums and archeological sites, and tourism to Egypt has been decimated by the revolution.

Mr. Abdel Fattah is expected to wield less power than Mr. Hawass, a media celebrity who was credited with increasing tourism and securing the return of antiquities from foreign museums and collectors.

Art Media Agency

Mohammed Abdel Fattah was already leading the antiquity department of the SCA. He previously served as head of the Museums sectors and director of Antiquities in Upper-Egypt. So far, the response to this appointment seems to be cautiously positive, unlike the sharply negative response to the previous nomination of non-archaeologist, Abdel-Fattah El-Banna, to the same post. The announcement sparked controversy and had immediately been rescinded.


Now the council is in the hands of Fattah, who previously served as the head of the antiquities sector at the Supreme Council of Antiquities, a vague and tautological job description that is just about the only background information provided.

Fattah says that his agenda will be to make peace among the council members, to take on corruption, and to prioritize construction on projects such as the Rams Road in Luxor, the Step Pyramid, and the Sharm el-Sheikh Museum. As for the question of government salaries, he announced that the country's central bank had given him a loan of 350 million Egyptian pounds ($59 million) for this purpose.

No comments: