Category Archives: antiquities

weeks in review: a release, an arrest, a discovery and 2 belly-dancing

Early April [2-4, 2017], the Egyptian president visited the US  and his visit included Egyptians standing  on both sides of the street, waving flags and greeting him as his convoy passed in Washington DC. He was in the States to ask for the US president’s financial and military support for which he only received promises of cooperation. Social media made fun of some of the images that surfaced of his infamous meeting with the US president in which they spoke of collaboration against terrorism. One image in particular showed the US president sitting at his desk in the Oval Office with the Egyptian president standing by his side – contrary to all protocols where both presidents should either be seated or standing up. The US president himself tweeted the pictures.

In the Oval Office

The Coptic Church also, prior to the explosions of the two churches in Tanta and Alexandria, asked the Copts to mobilize and greet him. Even though it was not the Copts alone who went to greet him, many still accused the Church of being hypocritical.

Parliament Continue reading

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the bathing of Sekhmet, visitors to the pyramids, bread intifada and others…month in review

Parliamentarian Haytham al Hariri explaining why the decision was wrong.

The biggest news had to do with the economy: people in several cities around Egypt [except Cairo], rose up in what was termed ‘the bread intifada’ reminiscent of the ‘bread intifada’ of 1977 – because the new Minister of Supplies decided to reduce the number of bread rations to people. Anger erupted and people took to the streets which made the minister retract his decision. The rations had apparently led  to corruption but the way forward was not to reduce it but to supervise it more thoroughly. People chanted against the government and the minister:«باطل» و«حسبنا الله».. Several people were arrested.

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water under the bridge and the arts of destruction

In a previous post I wrote about Crimes and misdemeanors of bad taste . While this tackiness continues to spread throughout Egypt, even though we have great sculptors and known artists, the real problem is when the matter comes to restoration of ancient monuments or of modern structures. Because these jobs are usually given to non-artists and non-professionals, they are usually botched and amateurish. Egypt has indeed permitted foreign conservators to take on projects and so far they have done great work.

old newspaper clipping announcing inauguration of the statues

old newspaper clipping announcing inauguration of the statues

The most recent serious botched attempts at renovation and restoration however was regarding the famous Kasr Al Nil Bridge [literally the Palace on the Nile] with its iconic Parisian-style lions at the entrance of both sides of the bridge. The bridge is the first bridge to be built crossing the Nile, and was built in 1869 as the brainchild of Khedive Ismail of Egypt who was later given a bridge mock-up made of pure gold by the company that built it. The name was based on the fact that it was built on the banks of the Nile near Mohammed Ali Pasha’s daughter’s palace [later demolished and replaced with military barracks of the British army and later yet again replaced with the Nile Hilton]. 

Crossing the bridge was not free when it was first created. Immediately after the completion of construction, the Khedive issued a decree to set up a roadblock on the entrances of the bridge for pedestrians to pay tolls whose details were published in the Egyptian Gazette on February 1872. Continue reading