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April 12, 2012

Safeguarding Egypt’s recent heritage as well as the ancient

Posted at 7:56 am in Similar cases

A criticism that is often levelled at country which focus on preserving their ancient heritage is a lack of attention to the more recent items of historical importance. In Greece for instance, when the country got independence, the bulk of the Ottoman, Venetian & Byzantine remains were removed from the Acropolis, in an attempt to revert it to how it had been in the time of Pericles. This is despite the fact that the more recent remains are still often of importance in telling the country’s history. There are no right or wrong answers in this sort of debate – but all the options need to be considered, before decision can be made.

In this case though, where the argument is protection, versus no protection, it seems that the answer is clearly that more effort needs to be spent on preserving this heritage.

Al Jazeera

Who should save Egypt’s archives?
Egyptian government institutions have failed to safeguard its ‘modern’ cultural heritage, focusing only on the ancient.
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2012 09:58

Oxford, United Kingdom – It has sometimes been claimed that, like human rights and democracy, the protection of Egypt’s cultural heritage cannot be left to the Egyptians. Corruption, poverty and ignorance, Egypt’s critics maintain, pose a serious threat to the preservation of artefacts of “global importance”.

Egypt’s own Antiquities Council, of course, claims otherwise. Attempting to demonstrate its commitment to safeguarding “national heritage”, erstwhile director Zahi Hawass waged a mildly successful international campaign to repatriate what “rightly belongs” to Egypt. In one case, a mummy returned from Atlanta, Georgia, was given a farcical state-funeral, serenaded by singing schoolchildren and marching military bagpipers.
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