Our intrepid Malaysian Peace Mission mission to Egypt, mentioned in my earlier posting Tottering Malaysians?, has hit a snag in its 'awe-inspiring' (gasp) attempt to drape a giant Malaysian flag over the Cheops pyramid at Giza, Egypt.
Dr Zahi Hawass, the chairman of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, the body responsible for the Giza site, virtually told the expedition to bugger off. He just wasn’t going to permit any draping of the pyramid.
Now, many of you may not be familiar with Dr Hawass but he’s nothing less than Mr Guardian of Ancient Egypt himself. I have seen him several times on TV. He’s a very assertive extroversive bloke and rules his portfolio seriously, and may god or Amen-Ra forgives those Egyptologists if they cross him.
The Western Egyptologists and archaeologists who are interested in digs in Egypt are damn shit-scared of this bloke because he is the principal key to their ability to operate in Egypt on ancient historical sites.
I read in a weekend magazine how one Western lady Egyptologist virtually had her career finished off because Dr Hawass blocked her from any further access to sites of ancient Egypt. She was supposed to let Dr Hawass view and approve her article before she published or go to air on it, but because she had a commercial contract with a TV station for a documentary, she ignored that conditions for her access to the ancient sites and went ahead on air. Dr Hawass wasn’t impressed with her breach of the agreement and he’s not the sort of person one crosses.
Dr Hawass takes no shit from any Western Egyptologists or archaeologists. He’s also sick of the West stealing stuff from Egypt (eg. like the Englishman Howard Carter) and displaying them as if those antiques belong to them, or making a mockery out of ancient Egyptian culture, by positing for example that the pyramids or Sphinx were built by an alien civilisation (the last explains why he wants to vet any poublication or broadcast).
Recently he has told Germany and Britain to bloody respectively return the 3000 year old bust of Nefertiti and the Rosetta Stone which were looted from Egypt.
As we all know, Britain during its hey-days looted a lot of items from around the world, precious national treasures like the Parthenon Elgin marbles, which Greece bloody wants back, and the Egyptian Rosetta Stone, mummies, and artifacts pilfered from their former colonies or invaded countries, like Egypt, Iraq, India, China, Burma, Afghanistan etc.
So far, Britain, with the typical thick skin of a invader-looter, has refused to return those stolen items. It claims that the antiques would be better placed in Britain to allow people from all over the world to see it (what brazen shameless cheek!), but the true reason is that their museums would be almost emptied, both of artifacts and visitors, if they return all the stolen stuff. Britain has very few indigenous artifacts of note, and their museums depend largely on items pilfered during its colonial conquering days to attract visitors.
The Rosetta Stone is probably the most important artifact in Egyptology, even more so than Tutankhamen’s treasure trove, for without it, the world wouldn’t know how to read Egyptian hieroglyphs and understand most of Egypt’s ancient history.
Hawass, true to his zealous guarding of ancient Egypt, said he won’t allow anyone to exploit the Great Pyramid. He killed off the Towering Malaysian expedition by saying “Why should I allow them to drape it?”
Indeed. I am only surprise that the Malaysian team hasn't made any application to the Egyptians before annoucing their bizarre grandstanding expedition. However, not to worry, the team can still carry on with the second part of the mission, visiting several mosques and historical sites in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. That's why they will be accompanied by 2 ministers.
Or, they could adopt KTemoc’s suggestion to go to Darfur and set up a medical cum meals centre for those poor war refugees.