Monday, January 31, 2011

Protesters defended Cairo's Egyptian Museum from looters

Mixed news about the state of Egypt's cultural heritage in the chaos of the uprising. On the one hand, there are reports that numerous museums and artifact repositories have been looted or vandalized. On the other, local residents have banded together to protect their cultural heritage from this wanton destruction, and the military have started deploying troops to do this as well.

Money quote from Zahi Hawass, Egypt's chief archeologist and secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, regarding some of the looters at the Egyptian Museum:

"I'm glad that those people were idiots," he told Time magazine. "They looted the museum shop. Thank God they thought that the museum shop was the museum."

The TIME article contains a less rosy picture, with some looters raiding the museum collections, breaking open cases and tearing up exhibits of priceless artifacts searching for gold.

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