Friday, January 22, 2010

Egyptian MP Proposes Legalization of Antiquities Trade

An independent Egyptian media outlet, Al-Masry Al-Youm, has reported, "MP Ahmed Ezz, who is also a leading member of the ruling National Democratic Party, suggested an amendment that would legalize trade in antiquities." See http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/news/antiquities-profit

Unfortunately, there apparently was no real debate on the amendment: Zahi Hawass, Egypt's antiquities Pharaoh, ensured the proposal was promptly shot down.

Interestingly, however, Al-Masry Al-Youm took the debate to the streets. The responses to the media outlet's question are interesting-- as is the percentage of government employees that participated in the canvass.

Cultural Property Observer would be particularly interesting in how the poll question was phrased. It would also be interesting to learn whether the MP's proposal specifically addressed sales of artifacts of a sort that exist in multiples, and are likely never to see the light of day out of storage.

1 comment:

Robert said...

I've found a quote in a recent article that I think shows Hawass motives in his push to reclaim Egypt's "cultural heritage". Many argue as if there is some sort of altruism or sense of appropriate fairness that the objects belong in Egypt.

But it's really just about money.

"We must exploit our archaeological assets properly in order to earn more money from providing efficient services instead of letting others do so," Dr. Zahi Hawass.

PS - I enjoy your Blog and wanted to pass this article on to you

http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2010/984/eg3.htm