For years the renowned Egyptian archeologist Zahi Hawass earned worldwide fame bringing the country’s treasures to a global audience, unearthing mummies on his very own reality show, launching a clothing line and eventually becoming Minister of Antiquities.
Today Hawass is accused of corruption, briefly sentenced to a prison term (lifted by government decree), and targeted by angry protestors who chased him away from his Ministry position after a few months.
Commonly referred to as the “Egyptian Indiana Jones,” Hawass was not wearing his trademark fedora as he hosted GlobalPost in his tightly packed Cairo office. He adamantly swatted away allegations of misconduct while celebrating his own reputation.
“I established Egypt’s heritage, and gave value to Egyptians worldwide,” asserted Hawass, who served as Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities for nearly a decade.
Hawass is credited with boosting tourism to Egypt by sparking interest in its archeology and spearheading a movement to return many prominent Ancient Egyptian artifacts to Egypt.
But after then-President Hosni Mubarak appointed him Minister of Antiquities in late January, protests erupted calling for him to quit (and “take his hat with him”). Among other things, he was accused of corruption and being a bit too close to former first lady Suzanna Mubarak.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Catching up with Zahi Hawass
Globalpost (Deena Adel)