Monday, April 04, 2011

A Matter of Priorities

Ahram reports that five days after meeting with the prime minister, Zahi Hawass has been officially reappointed, and more important, has held a half-hour meeting with the general who heads Egypt's armed forces 

to discuss security measures necessary to safeguard Egypt’s antiquities and efforts to be exerted to restore Egypt’s looted artefacts in collaboration with the world community and UNESCO.
Hawass told Ahram Online that the first order of the day is to repel the 500 encroachments on archaeological sites that have been found within the past two weeks, as well as the resumption of projects that were on halt due to the revolution.
The term "encroachments" normally does not refer to the storming of warehouses by armed gangs and to the digging of sites by armed looters, but to local squatters building cemeteries, houses, and farms on top of sites. The latter is a longstanding ongoing problem that Hawass has held conferences on in the past, and no doubt it is a problem that has worsened over the past two months. But to argue that it is "the first order of the day" at a time when sites and storerooms are under siege reflects a very odd sense of priorities. One would have thought that after all this time Hawass would have gone into  the meeting with the general with an action plan in hand to beef up site and storeroom security, and that he would have emerged announcing it was being put into effect. The lack of any such announcement is very disappointing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why don't your blog posts ever advance constructive criticism? I was optimistic about this blog in its early days but now it appears to be a repository for your toothless and ill-informed suggestions.