Thursday, February 16, 2006

Egypt’s Taliban of Antiquity is Destroying our World Heritage, My Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egypt is Shouting..Help...Freedom . Archeologists and officials complained from the mistreatment received by ancient Egypt’s monuments and history. That should not be a surprise. The deterioration is attributed to both to government agencies and to private individuals. Experts attending the conference said assault runs from illegal construction activities to farming.

The man who is responsible for protecting Egypt’s monuments, Zahi Hawass, director general of the Supreme Council for Antiquities, has no idea about abuse cases since 2003. He is only aware of the 6,000 in 2003. He has no recent figures. He does not want to condemn himself. Here I have some interesting stories about this guy that will shock you. I am sure here some would ask why him only responsible? Simple answer because this is the regime of Egypt. It has full authority and control over the country and citizens are not allowed to participate. Egyptians are not running the country as it is supposed to be. And those two earlier farce elections last year did not give any control to the people over their country.

One year ago, I met with an American lady who used to work with the National Geographic channel. She went to Egypt several times with her work to shoot some documentary movies on Ancient Egypt.

She told me how she loved Egypt and that it is lovely country until we started talking about Zahi Hawass. I had never ever loved the guy especially that I met him personally once. There is not doubt that he is repulsive. But one time is not a judge.

But here comes the bomb from this lady, she told me that Hawass is taking big commissions and bribes in order to let international TV stations get access to our monuments. She told me he does not deposit the money we pay him in Egypt. She told me he asked us to deposit it in his bank accounts in California. My eyebrows were raised as never before.

I asked her why do you pay him, this is corruption. How come he succeeds in blackmailing you. She told me that he knows very well that the market is so competitive and that there is a demand on ancient Egypt for documentaries and if my channel did not shoot other TV channels will run to do it.

She told me, it does not stop at the bribes only. She told me that he insists on having himself in all the documentaries as if the documentary is about him personally not the historic places. She told me he was getting on our nerves with every shot. He wasted our time and money as we had to reshoot to get him from the angles he wants to see himself.

Another story I got from one of the European embassies in Cairo, and I won’t mention the name of the country. But the fact that it is a European country can tell you how visa procedures can be complicated.

The son of Zahi Hawass went to this embassy, and he is a minor, to apply for the visa of this country. All he got with him, guess what? His daddy’s business card. Needless to say that this kind of documentation proved insufficient to file for a visa application, let alone being granted one. And because his father believes he owns Egypt’s monuments, he severed all relations, including travel, with this embassy and the country until this day.

The Supreme Council for Antiquities issues for all embassies in Cairo admission cards for historic places with either Egyptian citizen prices tickets or free admission for the diplomatic status. This embassy did not get their passes renewed until now.

Many reports on the internet by renowed Egyptian and international Archeologists are documenting how this man is falsifying Egypt's history for his own benefit and fame and of course his bank accounts in California! The Guardian reported 10 days ago that Egypt's great temples are threatened by rising water. The threat was uncovered by American Egyptologists not by the movie star and Taliban Council chair Zahi Hawass.

We have another Taliban in Egypt called the Supreme Council for Antiquities chaired by this Hawass who is taking the mission of ruining a world heritage, my ancient Egypt. Corruption and exploiting the influence are the language of the Egyptian Taliban.

Egyptian blogger, Seneferu, brings to our attention this very important article that says "Hawass expelled 14 expeditions from the country and, by his own account, denied access to hundreds more. He decides who digs where, and reserves for the Antiquiy Council — in effect, himself — the exclusive right to reveal their findings. Such is the level of paranoia that some archeological teams are scared even of their own success." The article says it all about the corruption and magnitude of destruction he brings to Egypt's heritage.

First photo by me. I love my Egypt's Blue Sky, Sun, and our Nile River. They are so clear in this shot.


At 10:30 AM, Blogger Seneferu said...

Freedom, you should link to this article:,,2099-1610673,00.html

At 10:51 AM, Blogger Freedom for Egyptians said...


I have added the article to the blog post. THANKS. It is very informative!

At 12:09 PM, Blogger Egypeter said...

Thanks to both of you! It's funny because, as an Ancient Egyptian history junkie, I see Zahi Hawass on just about every documentary I have ever seen on Ancient Egypt. Whether it's the History Channel, National Geographic Channel and the Discovery Channel.

Up until now I thought he was excellent. I never realized that he was a Nazi who runs the show for his own PERSONAL GAIN.

I guess you have to put Zahi Hawass and The Council of Antiquities on the list of govn't positions that are corrupt.

It sucks.

At 1:21 PM, Anonymous gabriel said...

My english is poor, but congratulations for your struggle. Freedom for egyptians ! liberté pour les égyptiens !

At 3:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear FFE,

I read the article with great interest. In Germany, I see the guy in every TV program about Ancient Egypt. He likes to be in the movie star role.
You know when I was younger, I used to marvel at the late Gamal El-Mallakh. Here was a man of integrity.

Egyptian in Germany

At 5:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting post...

I've attached a link to a website that challanges the academic and anthropoligical / historical views that Zahi Hawass has voiced as regards Ancient Egyptian history..

At 6:12 PM, Blogger Egypeter said...

Very interesting, previous Anon.

I actually watched that documentary on the reconstruction of Tut on TV.

I'd have to agree with the article and against Zahi Hawass and the French Team. Ancient Egyptians must have been black or dark brown. I think the fact that there are very light and even caucasion looking Egyptians today has to be due to the Greco-Roman influece on Egypt.

BTW - I am Egyptian and am very light skinned by Egyptian standards. I have Egyptian buddies that are very dark and others that have freckles and red hair. Like many countries we have a pretty wide range.

At 1:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

egypeter: wow

I never thought I'd hear it from an Egyptian.

I'm a Sudanese Nubian. My home town is riddled with pyramids and artefacts. I speak the Nubian language which is written with Greek characters due to the Greek influence on Nubia during the Orthodoxy. No Rosetta stone has yet been found for the Nubian language.

With my heritage, and having visited various museums and being a follower and reader of Ancient Egyptian History - I always felt that the evidence was clear - that the Ancient Egyptians for most of their history - that is, before the Hyksos invasion and the Greco-Roman incursion, were undoubtedly brown skinned.

One of the funnier things I saw on Egyptian TV a couple of years back was a tour of the museum in Aswan. The reporter asked if the clearly brown-skinned, African looking mummy belonged to a high ranking slave, the Egyptologist was apalled at her suggestion and proceded to explain that the mummy was in fact that of a Pharaoh. The reporter then asked whether henna was used in the mummification process, to which the Egyptologist said 'no, these people were brown skinned' !!

At 4:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you think the idea that Moses was brown skinned would go down in Egypt? : )

At 12:46 PM, Blogger Egypeter said...

Dear Sudanese Nubian - It is what it is. After all, Egypt DOES lie on the African continent.
Ya know, to put it bluntly, modern day Egyptians can be pretty racist. There really isn't a sense of "African" among Egyptians. I think a big reason is because of the mixing of ethnicities and peoples over the millenia in Egypt. If you think about it, there hasn't been a ruler or empire, from Ancient times (Pharaoh's) to Modern times (Ottoman's) and every one in between, that haasn't desired to rule over Egypt. So you can see how people lose sight.
What I don't get it, is what's History Class like in Egyptian schools? Do they not teach History?

BTW- There is a Nubian on the Chicago Bulls Basketball team by the name of Luol Deng. An excellent player and human being.

At 1:37 PM, Blogger Bitman said...

Ever since the Taliban incident with the Budda statues, I remember official egyptian parlamentarians using the pyramids as an example that you didn't tear down monuments from other cultures. Little good did it do back then (I still get shivers from knowing that such a huge historic work of art was lost to the brain-farts in the Taliban).

It's disturbing to see that it was just empty talk. Whether you use dynomite or just allow deteriation and theft from obviously important WORLD HISTORY sites like those in Egypt we should all be apolled and the western media/governments should be screaming at this. Maybe tose frigging cartoons are again taking the focus away from the really important issues out there.

At 1:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear egypeter

Brother Luol Deng of whom I am a fan is an African Sudanese Dinka - he's not Nubian.

The Dinka are the largest tribe in South Sudan, inhabiting large swathes of the White Nile basin. The Dinka are also thought to be the tallest people in the world with many Dinka's reaching 7" in height.
Supermodel Alek Wek is also of the Dinka as is the late historical pan-Africanist leader John Garang.

The Nubians inhabit North Sudan, from Khartoum till the city of Halfa that was genocidally inundated by AbdAlNasser to build the Aswan Dam, the Nubians also extend into southern Egypt up till Aswan.
The Nubians exhibit through their language which has been spoken for thousands of years, the closest link to the ancient civilisations that grew on the banks of The Nile.
A famous Nubian is Sudanese artist Rasha

egypeter: how come post-apartheid white South Africans who speak Afrikaans (an off-shoot of Dutch) and have clear ties to The Netherlands, how is it that they can feel patriotic about Africa whilst Egyptians can't?

As for your question on what history is taught in Egyptian classrooms - that's a really good question!
Maybe some of our friends who live in Egypt can shed some light on the issue...

At 11:46 PM, Blogger Egypeter said...

Thanks for clarifying Anon.

I'm not sure but I also think Luol Deng lived in Egypt before he moved to London.

As far as your question goes...I'm not sure. I would defer that question to someone who grew up in Egypt. As far as I'm concerned, I understand and appreciate my Pharaonic culture, which is African.

At 4:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Yes Luol did live in Alexandria for six years before relocating to the United Kingdom where his family were granted political asylum.
Luol's father Aldo was a Government Minister before the resumption of the war and the family's move first to Egypt was not very typical as most Southern Sudanese politicians and their families prefer to go to the more racially accepting Nairobi, Kenya before relocating elsewhere. In an interview he says that he immediately felt at ease, accepted and at home in England...

Luol was an ambassador for London's successful 2012 bid for the Olympics!!!
His brother and sister are successful college basketball players.

Can anyone who's grown up in Egypt help us out with what history they were taught in school please?

At 1:11 PM, Blogger Egypeter said...

Thanks Anon - It sounds like you've got Luol's history down pat. I've only taken an interest in him since I found out about him, when he joined my basketball team...the Bulls :)

That's really neat! I imagine he speaks Arabic pretty well and is familiar with the Coptic

I've actually heard him speak up on the Darfur situation during an interview. I remember the sports broadcasters commenting on how "mature" he was for talking about such a serious issue. He's only around 20 years old. I know he's also really close with Manute Bol...I guess that verifies how tall the Dinkas are. My goodness.

Nice chatting with you my sudanese friend. Take care and Go Bulls!

At 3:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luol probably speaks Arabic though I don't know how well.
Southern Sudanese Christians are usually Anglican or Roman Catholic. The Coptic Church doesn't have a very big presence in South Sudan I'm afraid..

I'm a Bulls fan too!
Go Bulls!
And yeah - nice chatting!

At 5:55 PM, Blogger Egypeter said...

Anon: Do you live in the states? And I am aware that today Sudan does not have a large Coptic presence. It's unfortunate because many centuries ago Sudan had a very strong Coptic church. Of course, many things changed with the Arab Invasion and today the government running Khartoum is as lousy as the Muburak regime maybe worse.
One question: What is the official record on the death of John Garang? Was it officially ruled an accident? So sad because he was a great patriot for the Sudanese people.

At 4:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I live in the United Kingdom.

As for the Coptic Church, it has little presence in 'south Sudan' however it is alive and kicking and subject to no constraints in the North in spite of the lousy Government.

The Sudanese were never Copts in the same vein that the Egyptians were. The population of Copts in Sudan never increased beyond 450,000 - there are maybe 250,000 Copts in Sudan today, out of 40 million.

Nubians constituted the majority of the inhabitants of North Sudan and they embraced Christianity long after Egypt, due to Greek emissaries.

Thereafter in 651 Egypt attempted to invade Sudan unsuccessfully.
A peace pact was thereafter signed called the Baqt whereby the Sudanese paid the Egyptians to leave them alone.
The pact lasted for 700 years.

By this time, many missionaries from the Arabian peninsula had peacefully settled in North Sudan and only in 1317 did Nubian, Makurian King AbdAllah Barshambu become a Muslim, mirroring the embracing of Islam by his populace.

As for Copts in North Sudan I can categorically tell you that there is no and has been 'no' violence or tension between the Coptic and Muslim community in spite of the lousy government and you can ask around about this.

That's why I personally find it distressing and strange when I read reports about killings and attacks in Egypt against Copts.
I've also been very shocked by some of the things I've heard some Muslim Egyptians say about their Coptic compatriots.

Even though religion is a bigger and more tangible issue in Sudan than in Egypt, there is no sectarian tension there as regards the Copts - whereas in secularist Egypt which has a much larger Coptic population there is...? Hmmm

As for Dr Garang, the probe is going well and there have been statements that no evidence of foul play has been found.

However, I personally think that any party, international or regional, who doesn't want to see a prosperous, independent Sudan, could have had a hand in Dr Garang's untimely death.
The racist massacre of Sudanese refugees in Mustafa Mahmoud wouldn't have happened had Dr garang been alive.
However Dr Garang was head of a political movement, and although he is gone, his movement persists.

At 11:40 PM, Blogger Bent El Neel said...

I remember official egyptian parlamentarians using the pyramids as an example that you didn't tear down monuments from other cultures

No they may not have torn them down, but the pyramids used to be covered in rose granite. Arabs chipped the rose granite bi t by bit and used it to build mosques and castles for their sultans.

Also, most marble columns in old mosques were taken away from the churches (if you visit the Citadel you'll see marble columns that don't match in Qaitbay's mosque. It's because they were collected haphazardly from the churches)

At 3:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

bent el neel:

Unless you come from Zahi Hawass' school of thought, there is ample historical evidence to support that claim that Nefertiti was an African, brown-skinned, Nubian queen from the vicinity of Meroe in Sudan who rose to the ranks of the Pharaoh's consort...

At 11:35 PM, Anonymous noufah said...

Um, can you folks take your Afrocentric garbage somewhere else? In case you haven't noticed, this is a blog about real Egyptians and for Egyptians. It's not to rehash reactionary nonsense about Egypt from non-Egyptians; you know, the bunk not accepted by anybody in the world of logic and facts.

At 6:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

dear noufah:

When you mention facts and logic please give us some examples...

If you're not already aware - Egypt seems to be ecologically unsustainable.

The population is huge and rising, and most of the country is desert.

Egypt has big groundwater reserves, however they are not open to scientific examination - Khaled M. Abu Zeid *son of* Egypt's Minister of Water Resources Mahmoud Abu Zeid is the head of Egypt's groundwater instiutions and treats Egypt's groundwater a a familial, national closely guarded secret...

So that leaves Egypt's other main water resource - The Nile, which, if you didn't already know, traverses 9 *African* States to get to Egypt.

If you are also not aware, there have been calls from the Parliamentarians of Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia (which all coincidentally have taken greater steps towards democracy than Egypt) - to revise the Nile Agreements of 1929 and 1959 so that they can utilise their share of water at the expense of Egypt.

In a globalised world it is safe to say that it is utterly outdated to suggest that discussion on the political events of a country should be confined to its citizens - actually it's ludicrous!

If after all of this you cannot see the importance of the African factor in Egyptian politics, or even Egyptian survival then there must be a problem somewhere.

ps. could you please define 'real Egyptian'? = )

At 8:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am black American I met a few Egytians in college all of varied colors and hair types a lot like my family. I do not recall exactly how the question of the race of the ancient Egyptians came up but a white man said in an angry manner that they were white then and they are white now. After the class my classmate who happened to be Egyptian said "I have never understood why white people think they have the right to say what race my people are. My family is many colors non of which are white." Then he told that his mother looked very much like me dark and lovely and laughed as he said his father was pale and had a head full of hair he could hardly comb. He went on to say that the white mans view of the world is very often not right. I think that's true.

At 7:37 AM, Blogger Casadaga said...

This may not be the best place to ask this question, but would really like some help. Some weeks back there was a broadcast from a station in Egypt on the life and homes etc. of King Farracuh (hope the spelling is correct) and a friend was telling me of it as he was taping it for me. Long story made short, he lost his connection and was unable to finish it, or there was a part two. Is there anyone out there that could tell me how to locate the station and find out when it was going to play again. Have left messages and posts all over the place. This is a wonderful site for reading and viewing. Thanks for any help from anyone.


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