Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Hawass Watch: Will He Stay or Will He Go?

In a marked shift from previous statements, Egyptian Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass has indicated that the government is not able to protect Egypt's ancient monuments and he is considering resigning from his post. See

Just recently, Hawass had stated on his blog,

Throughout this ordeal, there have been people who have been completely dishonest, and have tried, through their statements, to make the situation worse, in some cases by accusing me (in vague terms) of various inappropriate or even illegal behaviors. Of course, as even these people themselves know, none of these accusations has any basis in reality. When I was first appointed Minister of Antiquities Affairs, I thought my tenure might be very short, given the political situation. I did not care; I was only glad that the antiquities service had finally been given independence, and would no longer be under the Ministry of Culture. However, these attacks have convinced me that it is important for me to stay, so that I can continue to do everything in my power to protect Egypt's cultural heritage. I have written to Egypt's attorney general, asking him to look into some of the false accusations that have been made against me. I believe that addressing these issues will help stabilize the Ministry of Antiquities Affairs.


One of the comments to the New York Times report suggests Hawass' latest statements are really just a ploy to encourage his supporters in the archaeological community to beg him to stay. It will be interesting to see if Western archaeologists take the bait.

1 comment:

Voz Earl said...

I'm no fan of Hawass but some of the accusations against him involved claims that he let in so-called "Zionist" organizations like..."the National Geographic Society." Now any accusations which include such anti-Jewish propaganda and conspiracy theories are highly suspect.

My beef with Pharaoh Hawass is the way he lords it over entire related fields of experts and takes credit for the hard work of other people. The investment of time and money required to succeed in the humanities is substantial and the monetary rewards are few and far between. The best reward of all is recognition from peers and the public. Hawass has been a showboat and shameless self-promoter at the expense of others.

Still, that doesn't mean that his detractors should have free rein to slander him without a serious inquiry into the veracity of their claims.