Zahi Hawass is like Napoleon only he escapes from Saint Helena not just Elba. Yet again, Hawass has managed to hold on to his job even after being fired a second time. (Okay technically he resigned the first time, but let’s just say that was a decision made under considerable political pressure.)
The prime minister announced earlier in the week that Zahi Hawass, the archaeologist known for his National Geographic documentaries and close ties to the Mubarak family, was to be replaced by Abdel Fattah el Banna as minister of antiquities. But Sharaf reversed himself and decided to temporarily keep Hawass in his post.
“Dr. El Banna has accused several of the antiquities employees of corruption and thus triggered much rejection against him holding the position. Essam Sharaf consequently believed that it wouldn’t be appropriate atmosphere for him to work,” the government announced in a statement.
Hawass told MENA on Wednesday that he was asked by Sharaf to carry on his duties but wasn’t mentioned in Thursday’s list of ministers. A Cabinet spokesman later announced that the ministry of antiquities would be downgraded to a Cabinet-affiliated office and not be its own ministry.
The new office will be the same as the old office before Mubarak made it a ministry during a reshuffle during the January turmoil that brought down his regime. So it’s the Supreme Council of Antiquities again now and it reports to the prime minister.
Hawass told the New York Times that he’s only hanging around for a few days until a suitable replacement can be found. He said he’s looking forward to retiring to write books and “living quietly as a private person, away from politics.” Yes I’m sure. Very likely.
5 thoughts on “Oh for crying out loud”
Maybe he can marry Ötzi.
He may have his clothing and hat line, and his links to an exhibit of Tutankhamen replicas in Times Square, and his deal with Nat Geo, but will he still have it all for long now that he’s no longer the center of Egyptian archaeology? Nearly all his appearances have been in connection with his role in Egypt. He’ll likely drop out of the public eye very quickly now. Hopefully his successor will exceed expectations.
There are NO SURPRISES! Hawass must own so many pieces of so many people in Egypt that a whole system of deals and accomodations would collapse without him. The Hawass regime might seem absolutist and megalomaniacal, but it could not have functioned without a vast apparatus of enablers and fellow-travelers. Also, Egypt is clearly a country without a tradition of competent “public administration” – apart from deals within deals within deals. Until another Supreme Dealmaker emerges (which is not going to happen immediately), we can look forward to either (1) a lot more Hawass – perhaps a damaged Hawass struggling to hold back the tide, but still Hawass, or (2) total anarchy.
I think that Hawass ought to set up some sort of political action committee to accumulate funds from the unwitting and then use the proceeds for a “tour”. Then, he could get a big bus and plaster it with giant King Tut decals and drive around Egypt spending his contributions on various luxuries in the name of national antiquities.
Has anyone been to the Egyptian Museum? they should be ashamed of how those atiquities are cared for, people climbing on them, touching them, no lighting, decrepid display cases, things just stacked in the corners collecting dust and the list goes on. Supreme council, more like supreme criminals. Most of the work in the country as well as in Jordan is being done by foriegners. Even their own people have no respect for their history or culture. The guides say they are glad that pieces are out of egypt so that at least they are treated with respect