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MODERN EGYPT

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Bianca
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« Reply #135 on: May 15, 2009, 02:54:16 pm »








"The extraordinary monuments of Luxor survived for 5,000 years in large part because of the dry
conditions and low population," says Ray Johnson, director of Chicago House, the Oriental Institute
of Chicago's headquarters in Luxor which has been involved in restoration, conservation, recording
and documentation projects throughout Thebes since 1924. "Today we have to adjust to changes
in environmental and demographic conditions."

He was referring particularly to increased damage to monuments, such as the great mud-brick palace
of Amenhotep III at Malkata, the enclosure walls of the temple of Medinet Habu, and Deir Al-Medina,
in addition to the tomb chapels and settlement remains scattered throughout the west bank as a re-
sult of "wetter weather conditions, unregulated groundwater and wastewater, increased population
pressure, expanding agriculture, urban development, and tourism." Johnson's words in a recent article
written in collaboration with Mansour Boraik, the SCA's director in Luxor, are woeful indeed. All these
monuments, they claim, "have suffered the decay of centuries during just the last 15 years."

Working on the Ramasseum, the mortuary temple of Ramses II, one of the most important sites from
antiquity, admired since ancient times and celebrated in Percy Shelley's famous poem


                                                    "Ozymandias, King of Kings",


is Christian Leblanc, director of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS).

Working in collaboration with the SCA, Leblanc made reference to encroaching agricultural fields,
uncontrolled rural development in proximity to archaeological sites, and the fact that "the widened
asphalt road cuts the temple off from its panoramic cultural and natural setting."

Within the precincts of the temple itself, and in tandem with archaeological investigations, work
on presentation, restoration, and protection is progressing systematically. Indeed, protection of
the monument's first pylon is now being studied by the California-based Institute for Study and
Implementation of Graphical Heritage Techniques (INSIGHT), and, in order to encourage the re-
spect of young people for their heritage, an illustrated, French/Arabic educational pamphlet
(funded by a Franco-Egyptian Bank, NSGB), is being distributed free of charge at the site entrance.
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« Reply #136 on: May 15, 2009, 02:56:58 pm »










So, is there some hope for some optimism?

Can we look on the bright side of things despite the fact that Egypt's weather is getting wetter, its population is increasing, and that expanding agriculture is threatening the ancient sites?

Lake Nasser creates tremendous amounts of airborne moisture through evaporation and condensation; humidity fluctuations in the air cause damage to monuments; groundwater salts trapped in temple walls migrate to the surface, crystallise, and shatter the stone; and runoff water from over-irrigated fields results in abnormally long periods of high groundwater.

Can we be optimistic in the face of all this?

The answer must surely been a somewhat guarded, "Yes", because although concerted efforts are being made to protect the monuments on both sides of the Nile, and remarkable progress is being made, the overall plan -- the Master Plan one could call it -- is to bring in tourists.

That is government policy.

And, despite site management and facilities for visitors with the dual aim of enhancing their experience, and reducing their impact on the monuments, is being implemented, it is clearly a losing battle.
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« Reply #137 on: May 15, 2009, 03:01:25 pm »









Today some 40 foreign archaeological missions are working in Luxor. Apart from those mentioned above they include Australia, Belgium, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. As they excavate, restore, conserve, document, and abide by the rules of the SCA, the Ministry of Tourism proudly announces its anticipated further increase of tourism in the coming year. In fact, it has already expanded so rapidly that conditions on the ground -- and I refer to the daily influx of tour buses from the Red Sea -- is already so great that a decision had to be taken to convert the Nile Corniche road on the east bank of the Nile in Luxor into to a dual highway of four lanes each way. The original plan to open up the ancient sphinx-lined avenue between Karnak and Luxor temples to accommodate the traffic is still years from completion. On the west bank, the declared intention -- when the bridge across the Nile was constructed seven kilometres south of Luxor -- that there would be no infringement on archaeological sites, is not being adhered to. And while visitor centres are planned to facilitate services to tourists including information and transport, and are consequently attracting ever- increasing numbers to the monuments, the problem of crowd control has not been solved.

Why? Because it is no easy matter. Weeks said that different methods of ticketing at other World Heritage Sites were less effective when applied in the Valley of the Kings (KV), and he explained why. Currently one ticket allows admission to any three of KV's 12 open tombs (except those of Tutankhamun, Ay and Ramses VI, for which an extra charge is levied). They are good for the date of purchase only, and can be bought only at the KV entrance. "Switching to a system of timed tickets would help reduce crowding in KV by ensuring that optimum carrying capacities were observed," Weeks said, adding that timed ticketing would also help maintain appropriate levels of temperature and humidity. "But the time when most visitors arrive at KV is largely determined by factors beyond the control of the SCA or local tour guides," he said.

This is in part due to the fact that charter flights usually arrive from Europe on Fridays or Mondays, so large numbers of tourists come to the royal valley on Saturdays or Tuesdays. Nile cruise boats arrive on Mondays, and also contribute to the Tuesday rush. "Recently, travel agencies have begun offering day trips from Red Sea resorts to Thebes, and every day several thousand tourists come to spend eight hours visiting Thebes," Weeks said. "They invariably arrive in KV at eight in the morning, creating huge crowds and long lines, then move on to Deir Al-Bahari and Karnak (where crowding is repeated) before returning to the Red Sea in time for dinner."
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« Reply #138 on: May 15, 2009, 03:03:01 pm »








There is no simple solution.

Extend visiting hours?

Good idea, but late evening or night-time operation would involve major investment in lighting systems
(which anyway are not reliable), overtime cost for security police, and an inevitable a clash with today's
inflexible hotel meal schedules, shopping trips and museum visits.

In fact unless, and until, the SCA is established as a separate government ministry -- in other words,
until an institute of Egyptian archaeology is founded that is separate from the ministries of culture and
tourism -- there is no way that Egypt's cultural heritage in this once most powerful metropolis of the
ancient world, or its necropolis, can be saved.
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« Reply #139 on: May 19, 2009, 06:56:27 pm »









                                         Egyptian President Mubarak's grandson dies 





 
BBC NEWS
May 18, 2009

The 12-year-old grandson of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has died at a hospital in Paris, the state news agency Mena has reported.

Muhammad Mubarak died on Monday from complications of a health crisis which lasted two days, Mena said, without giving the exact cause of death.

The child's body has been flown back to Egypt for burial later on Tuesday.

Muhammad was the president's eldest grandchild, son of Alaa Mubarak, a businessman not involved in politics.

Egyptian state TV has been broadcasting religious songs sung by children as a mark of respect to the long-serving president's family.

Mr Mubarak's wife, Suzanne, cut short an official visit to London to be at her grandson's bedside.

The president will attend the funeral tonight at a military base in Cairo's Nasr City area.

The BBC's Christian Fraser in Cairo says the 12-year-old is thought to have had an existing health condition. He was known to be very close to his grandfather.
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« Reply #140 on: May 19, 2009, 07:36:20 pm »










                                                Egypt MP addresses national dress 






By Waleed Badran
BBC Arabic 
May 19, 2001

 
The galabeyya is a very democratic form of dress, MP Mustapha Gindy believes

The galabeyya, a traditional ankle-length gown worn by Egyptian men, may be about to get official status if an Egyptian MP gets his way.

Mustapha al-Gindy wants the simple galabeyya, until now more associated with men in rural areas or manual labourers, to be promoted as the national costume of Egypt .

"Everywhere, except Egypt that is, people have their national dress," Mr Gindy protests.

"In Egypt, if you wear a galabeyya, you might find yourself barred from 70% of public places. This is both unconstitutional and inhuman."


  People can wear what they like. The galabeyya should just not be off limits


Doaa Saleh, civil engineer:

"'This is particularly ironic in a country where close to three quarters of our male population wear galabeyyas."


"In a galabeyya, you can't tell a George from a Muhammad," Mr Gindy adds, referring to the country's religious make-up in which Muslims outnumber Christians by 9-to-1.

What he calls "the war against the galabeyya" has resulted in other costumes coming to prominence and he believes threatening the national identity.

"You get Saudi, Afghan, Pakistani, Omani galabeyyas instead. The list goes on," he says.

And he wants Egyptians to wear their own national galabeyya with pride when they travel abroad, instead of adopting the local variations.

While some MPs wear the galabeyya in the Majlis or parliament, Mr Gindy says you will only see Saudi tourists in their national dress at places such as the opera house or up-market hotels.
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« Reply #141 on: May 22, 2009, 09:13:43 am »








Clockwise from above:



the marble statue;

the shaft leading to tombs;

workers remove the dust;

a collection of smoking pipes, medicine tools, coins and arrows



photos courtesy of SCA
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« Reply #142 on: May 22, 2009, 09:17:05 am »



21 - 27 May 2009
Issue No. 948
Heritage








                                                       New finds span time



          An incomplete Graeco-Roman statue of an athlete in Alexandria and an enormous collection



                    of prehistoric artefacts in Fayoum are the most recent discoveries in Egypt






Nevine El-Aref
reports
 
At the Shallalat Gardens next to the fortress of Mohamed Ali in Alexandria, a Greek archaeological mission has discovered what is thought may be a statue of Alexander the Great. The statue, of white marble, features an athletic man standing in an upright position. The right leg bent and the part of the left leg below the knee is missing. A 0.16m length of the right arm exists and it has a connection notch, while the left arm is completely missing. Inside the shoulder is a metallic connection. The phallus is broken but the testes are preserved.

Kalliopi Limneou-Popakosta, director of the mission, said that the face was in very good condition except for some slight damage to the nose. The head is of the "heroic" type, with the characteristic turn of the neck and an upward glance of the eyes. The face is handled in the soft Praxitelian manner. The statue has curly hair with a ribbon, and there are sideburns on the cheeks. The body is slightly turned to the right in a "contraposto" style, and once possibly leant on a base, traces of which can be seen under the right buttock.

"This is one of the most important discoveries in the Shallalat Gardens in 100 years," Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), told Al-Ahram Weekly. He added that the discovery would probably lead to a very significant result concerning this area in the core of Alexandria, which was the site of the throne, the garden area of the royal palace, and the old Alexandria library during the Graeco-Roman era. "Remains of Alexandria's old royal quarter have been also found," Hawass said.
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« Reply #143 on: May 22, 2009, 09:22:02 am »









Last year a team working with the Graeco Roman Museum in Alexandria unearthed the base of a statue of Ptolemy V carved by the royal guards to glorify him, as well as a number of statues featuring Bacchus, the wine god.

Ahmed Abdel-Fatah, an expert in the antiquities of the Graeco-Roman period, said that the features of the statue were similar to those of Alexander the Great, especially the hair and the nose.

In the area in front of Al-Karn Al-Zahabi (Golden Horn) Island, north of Qarun Lake, an Egyptian mission from the SCA has unearthed an enormous collection of prehistoric objects revealing the skills of the prehistoric people who lived in the area.

The collection is composed of hunting and medicine tools. Needles, necklaces, earrings and bracelets made of animal bones have been unearthed, along with a number of primitive stone dwellings and shelters.

Hawass said that early investigations on the objects discovered revealed that the site was not only used in prehistoric time but continued to be inhabited through the different spans of history up to and including the Islamic era. From ancient Egyptian times, he said, the mission had unearthed a limestone relief bearing the cartouche of the Scorpion king of dynasty zero and a coloured bracelet made of glass. From the Graeco- Roman period the mission found a collection of coins, while fragments of coloured and decorated plates stamped with the name of the Fatimid king Al-Zafer are from the Islamic period.
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« Reply #144 on: May 22, 2009, 09:23:05 am »









Khaled Saad, head of the mission and director of the prehistory administration department, said the mission had also found several kinds of needles, showing that there were several methods of weaving leather in prehistoric time. The mission also found a skeleton of a primitive whale similar to those found in Wadi Al-Hitan in Fayoum, as well as skeletons of sawfish, crocodiles, turtles and harks' teeth.

Jewellery made of semi-precious stones and bones have been also unearthed as well as arrows, knives and grindstones from the prehistoric era, dated about 7100 BC.

Twenty-five rock-hewn tombs have been located on the sides of a nearby hill, Saad says, as well as a great number of human bones. A seven-metre deep shaft has also been found on the hill. Inside it were two chambers filled with sand and contained a complete human skeleton.
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« Reply #145 on: May 23, 2009, 07:39:32 pm »








                                             Whale Fossil Found in Kitchen Counter



                                                 Leads To Important Discoveries






National Geographic News
May 4, 2009

Early Whales Gave Birth on Land, Fossils Reveal Egypt Facts, Pictures, Map, More May 5, 2009—After a factory had found a 40-million-year-old whale fossil in a limestone kitchen counter, researchers investigated the stone's fossil-packed Egyptian quarry, which could shed light on the origins of African wildlife.


http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/05/090504-egypt-fossils-video-wc.html

Video by Public Television's Wild Chronicles,
from National Geographic Mission Programs






Unedited Transcription



AT THE F.M.S. STONECUTTING YARD IN NORTHERN ITALY BLOCKS OF EXOTIC MARBLE AND COLORFUL GRANITE ARE IMPORTED FROM ACROSS THE WORLD.

HERE THEY ARE CUT INTO SLABS DESTINED FOR HIGH-END KITCHEN AND BATHROOM COUNTERTOPS.

NOT TOO LONG AGO THE MASONS SLICED A MASSIVE BLOCK OF EGYPTIAN LIMESTONE MUCH LIKE A LOAF OF BREAD.

BUT THE SLABS COULDNT BE USED FOR COUNTERTOPS -- THEY WERE RIDDLED WITH WHAT APPEARED TO BE FOSSILIZED BONES.

"BEING MASONS WE WERE IGNORANT OF THE IMPORTANCE OF THE DISCOVERY WE HAD MADE" SAYS SUPERVISOR RICARDO FRANCIONI.

BUT THEY KNEW ENOUGH TO CALL IN SOME ITALIAN EXPERTS WHO DETERMINED THEY HAD INADVERTENTLY CREATED AN ALMOST PERFECT CROSS SECTION OF AN ANCIENT WHALE.

IT LIVED IN EGYPT 40 MILLION YEARS AGO.

FINDING ANCIENT WHALES FROM EGYPT, A COUNTRY THATS 95 PERCENT DESERT, MIGHT SEEM UNUSUAL --- BUT IT ISNT.

FOR DECADES, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC GRANTEE PHILIP GINGERICH HAS BEEN DIGGING UP WHALE BONES NEAR THE OASIS OF FAYOUM.

DURING THE TIME OF THE DINOSAURS THE AREA WAS COVERED BY THE OCEAN AND IS NOW FILLED WITH MARINE FOSSILS.

STILL, GINGERICH THE PREMIER EXPERT IN EGYPTIAN WHALES WAS INTRIGUED WHEN HE WAS NOTIFIED ABOUT THE DISCOVERY. SO GINGERICH AND EGYPTIAN AUTHORITIES DROVE OUT TO VISIT THEM IN PERSON.

THEY DETERMINED THAT ANY POTENTIAL WHALE BONES WOULD BE EMBEDDED DEEP IN THE LAYERS OF LIMESTONE ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO DISCOVER EXCEPT BY CHANCE.

HOWEVER -- THEY FOUND SOMETHING ELSE OF INTEREST.

THE QUARRIES ALSO CONTAINED COLUMNS OF RED STONE FROM A LATER PERIOD AFTER THE WATER AND WHALES HAD DISAPPEARED. "SUDDENLY IT DAWNED ON ME THAT SHOULD HAVE BONES IN IT, THERE SHOULD BE ANIMALS PRESERVED IN THAT SEDIMENT TOO. SO I WENT OVER TO THE BASE OF THE FIRST OUTCROP, GOT DOWN ON MY HANDS AND KNEES AND THERE WERE BONES ALL OVER THE PLACE."

SOME SAMPLES WERE REMOVED FOR FURTHER INVESTIGATION.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC RESEARCHERS GREGG GUNNELL AND ELLEN MILLER WERE ABLE TO TEASE OUT A PILE OF SMALL MAMMAL BONES FROM THE ROCK. THEY REALIZED THESE LITTLE JAWS AND LEGS HAVE AN AMAZING SIGNIFICANCE.

THEY MAY BE THE REMAINS OF SOME OF THE FIRST MAMMALS TO MIGRATE FROM ASIA TO THE AFRICAN CONTINENT.

SEE WAY BACK AS LAND MASSES WERE SHIFTING AFRICA WAS AN ISOLATED ISLAND DRIFTING TOWARD EURASIA.

THEN ABOUT 20 MILLION YEARS AGO AS SEA LEVELS DROPPED THE TWO CONTINENTS WERE JOINED.

"FOR THE FIRST TIME YOU GET A LAND BRIDGE BETWEEN EURASIA AND AFRICA. AND AT THAT TIME, YOU GET A WHOLE ARRAY OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF ANIMALS FLOODING INTO AFRICA. AND THE DEPOSITS HERE PRESERVE THE REMAINS OF THOSE ANIMALS, THE FIRST IMMIGRANTS FROM EURASIA INTO AFRICA."

EGYPT WAS LIKELY ONE OF THE POINTS OF ENTRY FOR THAT FLOOD OF ASIAN ANIMALS.   
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« Reply #146 on: May 23, 2009, 07:41:07 pm »










AND THEY EVOLVED OVER MILLIONS OF YEARS TO BECOME SOME OF THE ICONIC ANIMALS OF AFRICA.

ZEBRAS .

RHINOCEROS

WILDEBEEST

COULD THE QUARRY PROVIDE CLUES FROM THAT PERIOD?

TO FIND OUT NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC PARTIALLY FUNDED AN EXPEDITION TO THE QUARRIES TO COLLECT MORE EVIDENCE.

THE TEAM INCLUDED MILLER AND GUNNELL ALONG WITH BILL SANDERS AND AHMED AL-BARKOOKI OF CAIRO UNIVERISTY.

"I DIDNT FIND ANYTHING OVER THERE. WHAT DO YOU HAVE OVER HERE? I DIDNT FIND ANYTHING IN HERE YET."

THEY CHIP AWAY AT SAMPLES.

ITS HARD AND DUSTY WORK.

"INSIDE THE LITTLE ROCKS WE LOOK FOR ANY SIGN THAT THERES ANY KIND OF BONE OR TEETH OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT AND IF WE FIND SOME IDEA THIS IS GOING TO CONTAIN BONE WE TAKE IT BACK TO THE LAB AND WE PROCESS IT THERE."

THE BONES ARE OF SMALLER MAMMALS LIKE RATS AND BATS. THEYLL HELP THE SCIENTISTS ESTABLISH WHAT LIFE WAS LIKE HERE ALL THOSE MILLIONS OF YEARS AGO.

"THE SMALL ANIMALS ARE REALLY IMPORTANT BECAUSE THEYRE VERY SENSITIVE TO TEMPERATURE AND CLIMATE. THEY DONT MOVE VERY FAR DURING THEIR LIFETIME SO THEYRE A VERY GOOD INDICATOR OF RELATIVE HUMIDITY, RAINFALL, THINGS LIKE THAT."

THE FINDINGS MAY CONFIRM THAT THIS BARREN DESERT WAS A DIFFERENT PLACE WHEN THE MAMMALS STARTED TO CROSS FROM ASIA.

IT WAS A LUSH TROPICAL DELTA --WITH A SERIES OF LARGE RIVER SYSTEMS -- IT WAS A TEMPTING NEW HOME FOR ANIMALS ON THE MOVE.

WHEN THEY FIRST ARRIVED, THESE ANIMALS LOOKED VERY DIFFERENT FROM WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE TODAY. BUT ON THE WIDE OPEN PLAINS, REMOVED AND ISOLATED FROM THEIR NOW DISTANT ASIAN ANCESTORS, THEY BEGAN TO EVOLVE.

THE GIRAFFES NECK GREW LONGER, THE ZEBRA DEVELOPED ITS STRIPES. THEY BECAME WHAT MANY THINK OF TODAY AS UNIQUELY AFRICAN ANIMALS, NOT REALIZING THAT THEY HAVE ASIAN ROOTS.

THE RESEARCHERS HAVENT FOUND ANY MAJOR FOSSILS AT THE QUARRIES YET, BUT THEYRE GATHERING MORE PIECES OF A FASCINATING PUZZLE.

"ACTUALLY EVERY FOSSIL HAS GOT ITS OWN IMPORTANCE. ITS NOT ONLY THAT WE FIND ONE FOSSIL BUT TO INTEGRATE THE INFORMATION TOGETHER TO GET THE BIGGER PICTURE."

"EVERY DAY YOU COME OUT AND YOU WORK AS HARD AS YOU CAN AND YOU HAVE TO BE OPTIMISTIC IF YOURE A PALEONTOLOGIST. YOU HAVE TO ALSO BE LUCKY. AND EVERY DAY YOU COME OUT AND YOU THINK THIS IS THE DAY THIS IS THE DAY THIS IS THE DAY AND SOME DAYS, ITS RIGHT!"

THIS IS EXACTLY WHERE YOU OFTEN FIND THE LITTLE BONES.

AND FOR THESE PALEONTOLOGISTS, THIS WAS JUST ONE OF THOSE PROVERBIAL DAYS.

WHEN AN ACCIDENTAL DISCOVERY IN A LIMESTONE COUNTER-TOP IN ITALY

. LED TO NEW INFORMATION ABOUT THE ANCESTORS OF ICONIC AFRICAN ANIMALS.   
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« Reply #147 on: May 28, 2009, 07:22:12 am »



Four sons of Horus, New Kingdom,
19th Dynasty or later -  ca 1295 B.C.








                                          Eton College returns suspect antiquities to Egypt






By Martin Bailey
The Art Newspaper
Posted online:
27.5.09 |

LONDON. Eton College, in the south of England, has returned more than 450 antiquities to Egypt, after it was realised that many had probably been illegally exported. Last month we reported that the main part of the school’s collection, bequeathed to the school by Major William Myers in 1899, is going on long-term loan to Birmingham University in the UK and Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University in the US (The Art Newspaper, May 2009, p7).

The returned antiquities had been donated to Eton over a century later, in 2006, by the family of the late Ron Davey, a London-based Egyptologist. He in turn had received most of them as a bequest from his friend, Peter Webb, who had died in 1992.

When the antiquities arrived at Eton three years ago, they were examined by curator Dr Nicholas Reeves. The donation comprised 454 items, including ushabti figurines, beads and amulets, textile fragments, potsherds, coins and other small objects.

Dr Reeves was worried to find that much of the Webb-Davey donation had been acquired in Egypt during the period 1972-88, and there was no surviving documentary evidence that proper export procedures had been followed. This was after the 1970 Unesco Convention on illicit trade in cultural property. The remaining Webb-Davey antiquities seem to have been purchased in good faith on the London market during the same period, but no information was available on how they had left Egypt.

Eton College considered the matter, and decided against keeping the donation. After discussions with Mr Davey’s family, it was decided to relinquish the objects to Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, for the Cairo Museum. The hand-over took place on 27 April. Dr Zahi Hawass, director of the Supreme Council, thanked Eton, saying that the return would help “combat the illegal trade in Egyptian antiquities”.
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« Reply #148 on: May 31, 2009, 11:30:32 am »












                                                            President Obama = King Tut?






Jake Tapper
ABC NEWS
May 31, 2009 10:18 AM

In anticipation of President Obama's June 4 speech to the Muslim world in Cairo, Jim Zogby writes at the Huffington Post that expectations are high though in Egypt "he will face a nation hardened in its negative view of the US and its role in the region, and unconvinced that this or any American president can or will change policy."

He adds that it is "precisely because of the persistence of these strong negative attitudes that Obama's decision to go to Egypt was the right choice. It is there that the US President must convince skeptical Arabs that the change he promised is real. Given Egypt's sheer size and the importance of its role in the region, if President Obama can't sell his message there it may not have its desired impact anywhere."

Zogby says the speech "must be more than banal clichés ('we are not at war with Muslims') or a repetition of hollow visions. It must be bigger, more consequential and more substantial."

ABC News correspondent Lara Setrakian finds this t-shirt being sold in Egypt that compares President Obama to King Tutankhamen, who ruled Egypt from 1333-1324 BC.



               



One possible aspect at play here is the insistence by some African-American activists that Tutankhamen was black, though in 2007 Egyptian antiquities expert Zahi Hawass said that "Tutankhamen was not black, and the portrayal of ancient Egyptian civilization as black has no element of truth to it."

Hawass was responding to protestors in Philadelphia who objected to images of King Tut with lighter skin than they thought accurate in the exhibit "Tutankhamen and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs," soon to open in Indianapolis.

On the other hand, maybe the T-shirt vendor was just using the name of the most famous Pharaoh to sell some shirts.

- jpt
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« Reply #149 on: May 31, 2009, 11:36:49 am »










Comment
Posted by:
MarkLeavenworth
| May 31, 2009 11:46:12 AM

 
The possibilities of what the t-shirt would mean are endless. As MayBee notes, it is in English, so surely for tourists, or for the press they know will trail the president.

My first thought was that the maker knows his Egyptian history and was making an interesting and subtle statement. King Tut is known in America for his fabulous treasure, but most know little else about the "boy king." He had a brief reign, but it was most notable for the contrast to the previous pharoah's reign. Tut's father was Akhenaten, the pharoah who tried to change Egyptian society completely by outlawing the worship of the traditional Egptian gods and goddesses and instituting monotheism. Akhenaton (and his wife the sublimely lovely Nefertiti) worshipped the sun god Aten, and closed the temples of all other gods. There is much debate over whether this was a purely religious move based on his sincere monotheistic beliefs, a political move that crushed the competing power of the elite priests of the various temples and consolidated religious power in the hands of the pharoah, or a combination of both. (I fall in the combination camp, but then, I'm a moderate. *G*) Regardless, the man attempted drastic changes in Egyptian life-- not only did he change the religion, he moved the capital to a new city in the desert, which he also called Akhenaten (his name was one he adopted to reflect his religious beliefs-- it means 'beloved of Aten'-- not his birth name, Amenhotep). This was another example of his determination to make a fresh start and put his own unique mark on Egypt.

When AKhenaten, who probably suffered from Marfan syndrome, died, his son Tutankamen came to power (there was a period of two or three years where things were in flux) and reversed his father's changes. He reopened the temples, reinstated the priests, and moved the capital back to Thebes. It was as Akhenaten and his radical ideas had never existed. The young pharoah ruled for only 9 years.

So maybe the t-shirt references the "clean slate" approach Obama touts, or is designed to celebrate him as one who appreciates Egyptian identity. Who knows? But given the major changes instituted by Obama, an argument could be made that he is the Akhenaten figure in this tale.
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