Nefertiti Bust-up

Hell hath no fury like a Hawass scorned. A cultural stoush is developing between Egypt and Germany in the wake of an announcement by Germany’s Egypt Museum that they would not be loaning the famous bust of Nefertiti back to Egypt, as requested by Dr Zahi Hawass (claiming it is too fragile to travel). As can be imagined, Dr Hawass took it well…

Hawass said today that he would send a letter to Germany tomorrow formally requesting a loan of the bust for the opening of the new Grand Egyptian Museum. The museum is scheduled to open in 2012 near the site of the Great Pyramids at Giza, just outside Cairo.

“I will begin a negotiation,” Hawass said. If it fails, Hawass said, he will organize a worldwide boycott of loans to German museums.

“We will make the lives of these museums miserable,” he said. “It will be a scientific war.”

Beyond the usual hyperbole and ego-stroking that goes with any Hawass performance, there are some core questions within this argument which are difficult to answer, most notably: should antiquities be returned to their place of origin (and do you define that geographically or culturally)?

  1. The core question
    The answer is that this is world history and Germany is probably in a better position to manage the care of this particular item than this fool and his nationals.

    How embarassing for the Egyptian Govt to have this baboon speaking on behalf of the country on these matters.

    Indianna Hawass’s quote below is priceless.

    “They fear we will be like Raiders of the Lost Ark and we will take it and not give it back,” said Hawass

    I don’t see many German nationals on Nat Porno with Jones style hats opening tombs for the first time “live”


  2. Actually…….

    If the Egyptian government supports Hawas in this venture, then it could, indeed, make life miserable for a good many folks.

    For example, it could start by expelling all German nationals from Egypt, or barring German archeologists from entering Egypt. They could also bar anyone associated with German museums from any sort of research within Egypt.

    Hardball-wise, they could refuse yo allow German-flagged vessels, or ships carrying German-origin cargo from using the Suez Canal. It’s happened before. Governments prioritise quickly when jobs are at stake.

    Personally, I feel that all such items should be returned to their country of origins. I view the removal of them as government-sanctioned grave robbing. It also smacks much of Euro-elitism, although, thankfully, that won’t last for too many more years, what with a declining Euro birthrate and an influx of Muslims. All things considered, it may well BE safer for those artifadts to return to Egypt rather than fall into the hands of a Euro-Taliban government


    1. realistically
      Realistically, Egypt depends on European money. Tourism from Germany is a significant part of Egypt’s income. Sure museums are not a big part of this.

      But Egypt cannot afford to stop all trade with Germany. Tourism and industrial trade from German, and the rest of the EU, are very important for Egypt. Egypt won’t do anything to jeopardize that. Not for a silly reason like this.

      Failure is not an option — it comes bundled with Windows

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