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)?