Thursday, April 22, 2010

King Tut, The Tour And The Ways Of Zahi Hawass

Real Clear Arts (Judith H. Dobrzynski)

Before going to the press preview this morning for Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharoahs, which will open at the Discovery Center Times Square on Friday, I had never seen Zahi Hawass in action. But now I know why Hawass, the Secretary General of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, has been so good at elevating the profile of Egyptian antiquities, claiming and repatriating artifacts from Western museums, raising money for archaeology and museums in Egypt, getting very good press in the process, etc. Too good, sometimes.

He's a charmer, story-teller, teaser and advocate par excellence. Relating a tale about flying back to Cairo on Egypt Air with a coffin recovered with the help of Homeland Security officials here, he said a woman near him, learning that the coffin was in the plane's cargo area, got the willies. "Don't worry," he told her, "If there had been a curse, I'd have taken Lufthansa."

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