Well, it didn’t take long for the revolution in Egypt to be thrown back in the face of Zahi Hawass who has been loudly demanding Egypt’s treasures back from Germany, the UK and other museums. The Wall Street Journal reminds Hawass that his country’s patrimony seems safer in Europe than in his own museums:
These events make Mr. Hawass’s quest to return all Egyptian objects to Egypt misguided or at least poorly timed. Last week he again demanded the return of the bust of Nefertiti from Berlin. The Rosetta Stone in the British Museum has long been on Mr. Hawass’s wish list, along with the Zodiac Ceiling in the Louvre and statues in Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts and museums in Hildesheim, Germany, and Turin, Italy. And a few weeks back he complained bitterly that the obelisk known as Cleopatra’s Needle, a gift to the U.S. from the Khedive of Egypt that has graced Central Park since 1881, was in poor condition and might have to be reclaimed. He has made similar demands for the repatriation of Egyptian artifacts around the world, whether purchased, donated or stolen. But can Egypt even look after what it has? This question is now out in the open.
Unfortunately, the author Alex Joffe shows some a priori reasoning when the case turns to the Elgin marbles. How rioting in Egypt negates Greece’s claim–note both the UK and Greece have austerity budgets that make caring for the marbles a drain–to statuary from the Acropolis is never explained.
Egypt’s Antiquities Fall Victim to the Mob (Wall Street Journal)