Saturday, February 26, 2011

Diplomat caught attempting to smuggle artefact - which was actually a fake

Asharq Alawsat (Abdul Rahman Al-Rashid)

A diplomat was stopped recently by Cairo Airport authorities, who wanted to x-ray his luggage. The diplomat refused, but his objections were unsuccessful, and the Egyptian authorities insisted that all luggage must undergo mandatory x-ray scans, regardless of the passenger's diplomatic immunity, due to the exceptional circumstances in the country.

The inspectors discovered an ancient statue hidden in one of the suitcases, at a time when news was being circulated about valuable antiquities being stolen [from the Cairo Museum]. The customs officers requested the help of experts in the field of Pharaonic antiquities, who examined the statue in question. Afterwards, the experts assured the foreign diplomat that he could take back the statue, as it was not a genuine artifact. Upon hearing this, the diplomat almost fainted, and it became clear that he had purchased this statue for a huge amount of money, believing that it was a genuine artifact stolen in the aftermath of the Egyptian revolution. As the realization that the statue he had purchased was a fake dawned on him, the diplomat refused to take back the statue and offered it to the custom officers, claiming that it was a donation to the Egyptian people, in appreciation of their recent revolution!

How many people these days are trying to peddle fake statues as genuine articles?

I am absolutely NOT supporting the creation of fake artefacts for sale as the genuine article, but I do think that anyone evil enough to purchase something fake believing it to be a genuine item looted from Egypt during the unrest deserves to be thoroughly fleeced - and prosectuted.


AliceG said...

I agree. What difference does it make if it's a fake? The intent was there! But being a diplomat it would be very hard if not impossible. Which is another can of worms to me anyhow. But I won't get on that subject here.

Kate Phizackerley said...

It has been said that diplomats are one of the ways antiquities are smuggled out of Egypt. Even if this item was fake, there is every chance he had smuggled antiquities before.

Well done the airport authorities though. Facing a diplomat down is not easy.

Anonymous said...

I know of diplomats that have smuggled antiquities out the country, diplomatic bags can be the size of a container that fits on a lorry. I would like to see them punished, but...!!11