Thursday, June 30, 2011

Taking Tut commerce to extremes

The Daily News, Egypt (Philip Whitfield)

Belt tightening isn’t enough. Beggars can’t be choosers, they say when the kitty’s dwindling. Qatar and Saudi Arabia are funding feeding fellahin fuul. Egypt could weigh up some assets worth more than their weight in gold: Tutankhamun?

Instead of borrowing into oblivion, turn the tables on the foreign bankers rubbing their hands at the prospect of drowning Egypt in debt. Offer a lease and sale deal for King Tut.

Sounds farfetched? Tutankhamun and Golden Age of the Pharaohs exhibitions make $100 million a year crisscrossing America. At home the country’s archaeological mausoleums only rake in $80 million pay dirt digging dirt. Tut-a-mania tourists are putting off coming to Egypt. And Tut’s ultimate resting place at the yet to be built Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza is some years away.

Put on the thinking cap. Instead of charging foreign museums $20 million a year staging Tut fests, more drastic solutions might be considered.

Let’s make a Tut-plan. The world’s 20 major museums in the United States, Europe and Asia request their governments to pony up $1 billion each to rent Tut — loose change for those sending good money after bad to Greece, Portugal and who knows next.

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