Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Will Egypt's Military Coup Pave the Way for Zahi Hawass' Return to Power?

The Egyptian military has followed the old example of Turkey's Generals to take power from the inept, sectarian Egyptian President, Morsi.  Like their (now weakened) Turkish counterparts, it appears that Egypt's Generals hope to restore "order" before allowing for a new Presidential election.   There is plenty of room to debate the rights and wrongs here, but this is a blog about cultural property issues, not Egyptian politics per se.  However, politics certainly does often intrude into such issues, so let me be the first to ask whether this military coup will pave the way for Zahi Hawass to return as Egypt's antiquities pharaoh.  Zahi was a favorite of the Mubarak regime, but that affiliation did him no good in Revolutionary Egypt.   It now remains to be seen whether the military will view Hawass as a charismatic asset to restore order to Egypt's beleaguered antiquities establishment (and bring in those tourist dollars!) or a corrupt and confrontational relic from the still discredited past.  Personally,  I'm betting we'll be saying "He's back" before long.

3 comments:

Drastic Plastic said...

Well, I know you didn't like him, but he was as good as it gets in a country like Egypt. Really, he was a good thing. He really promoted Egyptology, and had the wisdom to see that Indiana Jones was a model to follow.

There will never be an Egyptian official who will take a sensible view of the art market, so it is probably wise to judge him on his other, sterling qualities. Even his self-promotion served the interests of both his country and the discipline.

Voz Earl said...

Uh...I seriously doubt it.

Average Egyptians don't like him because of his ties to the regime. The native Egyptologists I met there a year ago disliked the fact that you had to kiss his arse to get access to sites or permission to do anything. They also complained about him swooping in to take credit for other people's work. There was some mocking of his claim to have supposedly discovered a new pyramid as well--not really sure what that was all about. Frankly, I was surprised at how much they despised him.

Voz Earl

Cultural Property Observer said...

I agree young archaeologists don't like him because of his dictatorial ways, many hate him for his ties to the Mubarak regime and local people hate him because his heavy handedness when it comes to buidling (and perhaps dealing in antiquities they find). Nonetheless, Mubarak was of the military. His crime was to hold onto long and groom his son to rule. I assume the military government won't care what the people think about Hawass particularly if they think he can help bring those tourists back. I'd note Hawass has plenty of friends in the US media who will help feed that perception.