New Boss for Egyptian Antiquities

August 25th, 2011

Mohammad Abdel Fatah is the new head of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA). He was appointed by Prime Minister Essam Sharaf on the 18th August, exactly two months after Zahi Hawass was sacked and the Ministry of Antiquities dissolved.

Abdel Fatah was the SCA’s director the Egyptian Antiquities department of the SCA and also previously of the museum department. So far his appoitment has been well received by the employees of the SCA and the general public.

It is reported that Hawass is on an official ‘travel ban’ and thus cannot leave Egypt without special permission from the government. It is not clear if he will be allowed to travel abroad for the many lectures he is booked for, the most recent being in Belgium and Australia. Hawass is also the keynote speaker at the Edgar Cayce Foundation in Virginia Beach in October 2011, although it is reported that his close colleague Dr. Mark Lehner has pulled out of this conference. Other speakers include David Hatchet-Childress and John Van Auken who will lecture on the mysteries of ‘Atlantis’.

Finally an update from Zahi Hawass himself

August 16th, 2011

The following was posted on Hawass’s blog:

http://www.drhawass.com/blog/message-all-my-friends

The content reveals more about how Hawass perceives himself. According to him, when he now walks the streets of Cairo as a ‘private person’: “I take taxis and walk on the street, enjoying the crowds of Cairo. Every day I am blessed to see first-hand how so many Egyptians respect and love me.”

Less than a month ago, after he was sacked as Minister of Antiquities, Hawass was mobbed by a large angry crowd of Egyptians who shouted “Thief, thief!”. He was lucky to escape unharmed:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ubm5yoIfuk

Where is Zahi Hawass?

August 14th, 2011

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The last news entry in Dr. Hawass’s Website was on 14th July 2011, reporting his meeting with the US Department of Homeland Security regarding the smuggling of Egyptian antiquities. Hawass was then still Minister of Antiquities. On 20th July, however, Hawass was sacked from his post, and the next day was mobbed by angry protesters as he left the Ministry building. Furthermore the Ministry of Antiquities was dissolved and replaced by the old SCA (Supreme Council of Antiquities). After that the trail gets cold.

As always in Egypt, rumours abound as to the fate of Hawass.

On the 30 July I met the Egyptian author/journalist Ahmed Osman in London who had just returned from Cairo. Osman has been an opponent of Zahi Hawass for many years and has often reported Zahi’s blunders and misdoing in the Arab media. Whilst in Cairo Osman had a meeting with Dr. Maksoud, now head of the SCA. It seems that Maksoud’s position is still not fully endorsed by the government, and thus could be temporary until a new head for the SCA is found. According to Maksoud Zahi Hawass was at his home and, understandably, in quite an agitated state. Should he be prosecuted, Hawass allegedly threatened, he will ‘kill’ a few people before he himself goes down in flames. I cannot confirm whether this is true or not, but it certainly sounds like the rhetoric of Egypt’s (ex) Indiana Jones. Another reliable source in Cairo more recently reported that Hawass was banned from travelling and that his old entourage at the (ex) Ministry were also under investigation. According to this source there are dozens of legal actions against Hawass pending at the Attorney General’s office, including charges of corruption, mis-appropriation of funds, profiteering, abuse of authority and mismanagement.

Another source claims that Zahi still goes to his ‘private’ office in Mohandeseen (a district of Central Cairo) and unofficial ‘runs’ the SCA from there. Maksood, after all, was appointed by Hawass before the latter was sacked.

I hope to have more news on the matter next week from a source that has a direct link to Dr. Hawass.

Meanwhile I am please to announce that, so far, the official contributors to this ‘Newspaper Blog’ are: Nigel Hetherington (Archaeologist based in Cairo); Patricia Awyan (researcher based at Giza); David Rohl (Egyptologist) and Ahmed Osman (journalist/author based in London).

Stay tuned for more up-to-date news, feature stories and interviews related to Egyptian Antiquities.

Robert Bauval, 14 August 2011

TAHRIR -EGYPTIAN ANTIQUITIES NEWS

August 12th, 2011

WELCOME to my new Blog!

Ahmed Osman and myself have decided to run a sort of ‘Blog Newspaper’ to keep you abreast of the important news and issues concerning Egyptian Antiquities. Now that Zahi Hawass has finally left his post as minister of Antiquities, we propose to fill the vacuum by posting the TRUTH about the state of Egyptian antiquities for a change!

We are recruiting consultants and contributors for this important Blog. To date we have the Egyptologist and writer David Rohl, Patricia and Yousef Awyan (who live near the Giza Pyramids), myself and the Egyptian writer and journalist Ahmed Osman. We will announce more participants in due course.

Stay tuned!

Egypt: Taking Democracy to extremes. Musical Chairs at Antiquities Ministry

July 20th, 2011

On the 17 July the Egyptian Prime Minister, Essam Sharaf, announced a massive reshuffle of the Cabinet: 14 Ministers were replace, including Zahi Hawass, Minster of Antiquities. A new minister for Antiquities, Abdel Fatah El Banna.  But no sooner was El Banna appointed that PM Essam Sharaf changed his mind and ‘cancelled’ this appointment because apparently protesters did not want El Banna.

Amazingly, on the 19 July Sharaf then announced that Zahi Hawass would return to his post as Minister of Antiquities. It is not clear at all if Hawass’s re-appointment is permanent or merely till a suitable replacement is found.

The same bizarre musical chairs tactics had happened last March, when Hawass ‘resigned’. This was followed by PM Sharaf merging the Minstry of Antiquities with the Minstry of Culture to revert back to the old system of a Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) under the Ministry of Culture. PM Sharaf then appointed Abu Ghazi as Mnisiter of Culture and Antiquities. But then Sharaf immediately changed his mind and separated the two ministries again. He then appointed Alaa Shaheen, a professor at Cairo university, as the new minister of antiquities. But again Sharaf changed his mind, cancelled Shaheen’s appoitment and…. re-appointed Zahi Hawass!

 Confused?

Join the club…

Dr. Salima Ikram confirms prehistoric “Black Genesis” of Pharaohs

July 4th, 2011

On the 7th April 2010 I met Dr. Salima Ikram and her husband at Madrid Airport. Over a coffee I told her of my forthcoming book (with Thomas Brophy), Black Genesis (Inner Traditions Inc. 2011), which present the thesis that a black prehistoric people that lived in the Egyptian Sahara (south-western desert) were forced, in about 4000 BC, by drastic climate changes to migrate into the Nile Valley, bringing their knowledge and ideas with them, and thus were responsible for the emergence of the pharaonic civilization. This conclusion was also arrived (tentatively) earlier also by Dr. Fred Wendorf, Dr, Romuald Schild and other anthropologists and archaeologists since the early 1980s, and has been reinforced by the recent discoveries made by Carlo Bergmann and Mark Borda (see Black Genesis, Chapter 2). It is therefore refreshing that Dr. Ikram, who is a close colleague of Dr. Zahi Hawass, also adds her support to this thesis.

In the BBC documentary “Egypt’s Lost cities” (30 May 2011) Dr. Ikram cooments:

“In four thousand-ish BC there seems to have been a change in the climate. The whole rain cycle changed and therefore people started moving away from the Sahara and into more dependable water source here in Egypt –that would have been the Nile Valley. As the people from the desert converged into the Nile Valley you can see them taking their ideas and belief systems there, and then those were gradually transformed into what we have and what we know as (pharaonic?) Egypt.”

Mubarak at a Bizarre ‘Zionist’ Ceremony… or not?

June 21st, 2011

On the 14th May 1998 the State of Israel celebrated the 50th Jubilee of it’s creation (14 May 1948). Celebration took place in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, as well as many other cities around the world which harbour large Jewish communities. One particular ceremony in Paris deserves some special mention, for it raises a very odd question regarding ex-president of Egypt Hosni Mubarak and members of the Cultural Ministry and the Antiquities Ministry.

In early May 1998 Hosni Mubarak and Farouk Hosni (then Egypt’s minister of Culture) as well as the Egyptian Abassador in Paris, as well as representatives of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt, convened in the city of Paris on the invitation of French president Jacques Chirac.

On the 14th May, for this occasion, a ceremony was organized at the Place de la Concorde at the foot of the Egyptian obelisk belonging to the pharaoh Ramses II which once stood at the entrance of the Temple of Luxor in Upper Egypt. At this occasion a golden captone for the obelisk that had been specially commissioned by Jaques Chirac was unveiled by the Egyptian Ambassador and France’s Minister of Culture.

There is a strange history to this obelisk: the removal of this obelisk was negotiated on behalf of France in the early 1800s by Salvatore Zola, the French Consul in Alexandria, and the Egyptian authorities headed by the Khedive Mohammad Ali. It had been specifically chosen by Jean-Francois Champollion for its quality of importance. The obelisk was eventually brought to Paris in 1836 and raised in the Place de la Concorde at the very spot that Louis XIV had been beheaded. Some 200,000 people attended the event. The whole affair had a ‘masonic’ flavour to it as indeed all other similar events that took place in other capitals of the world such as at London’s Victoria Embankment (with one of the obelisks of Tutmoses III) and New York ‘s Central Park (with another obelisk of Tutmoses III). See my book Secret Chamber (Century Books 1999).

The peculiarity of the event of the 14th May 1998 in Paris is not only the choice of date that concords with the 50th Jubilee of the ‘Zionist’ State of Israel but also another very instriguing connection with an event that took place in the 1890s that actually is at the very root of the Zionist movement.

In 1890 Alfred Dreyfus, an officer in the French Army, was wrongly imprisoned for allegedly spying for the Germans. In fact he was arrested for his Jewish affiliation. This so-called ‘Dreyfus Affair’ exposed the strong anti-Semitism in France and in its goverment. The matter took on an international quality when the author Emile Zola, a Freemason, wrote an article, famously known as J’acuse’,  in the newspaper l’Aurore where he accused the French goverment of Anti-semitism. The German-Jewish journalist Theodore Herzl was sent to cover the story and, apparently so influenced was he by the Dreyfus Affair, that upon his return founded the World Zionist Organization that would lead in 1948 to the formation of the State of Israel under a Zionist goverment.

The curious link that connects the ‘Dreyfus Affair’, Emile Zola, Theodore Herzl and the World Zionist Organization, as well as the foundation of the State of Israel to the event that took place in Paris on the 14th May 1998 is the name of the multi-millionaire Pierre Berge on the plaque that was fixed on the obelisk to commemorate this occasion. Pierre Berge is famously know for having been the co-founder of the Yves Saint Laurent fashion empire (he was also the lover of Yves Saint Laurent). Recently Berge bought the villa of Emile Zola at Medan which is being converted into a museum dedicated to Alfred Dreyfus.

It was during the 14th May 1998 ceremony that Egypt’s minister of Culture Farouk Hosni announced that a similar ceremony i.e. the placing of a golden capstone on the Great Pyramid of Giza, would take place on the 31st December 1999 to commemorate the millennium. This event, although much publicized in the international media, was cancelled at the last minute amid accusation of a Masonic-Zionist plot (see Bauval and Hancock’s The Master Game, to be published in August 2011).

Grand Arch (degree?) of the Brotherhood (Freemasonry?)

June 7th, 2011

The official name of the huge architectural cube built in the late 1980s at La Defense in Paris is ‘La Grande Arche de la Fraternite’, literally ‘Grand Arch of the Brotherhood’. It was commissioned by president Francois Mitterand*, a well-known ‘friend’ of the Freemasons, and president Jacques Chirac became  the first director of the society of the Grande Arche de la Fraternite, also a very supportive ‘friend’ of the Freemasons.

 In regular Freemasonry, there is a pecial “4th degree” called the Grand Arch degree. Thus the name ‘Grand Arch of the Brotherhood’ is, to say the least, extremely ‘masonic’.

Many Parisians, oddly enough, are not aware that the axis of the Grande Arche, although in the same alignment as the Avenue des Champs Elysees (the ‘Historical Axis’ along which are found the Egyptian Obelisk at Place de la Concorde, and Napoleon’s Arche de Triomphe) its axis is deviated further towards the north, such that it is at azimuth 302 degrees, marking the place of the setting sun on 24th June, the feast of St. John and the New Year’s Day of Freemasonry!

The full story and images in: THE MASTER GAME, by Robert Bauval & Graham Hancock, to be published in August 2011.

*Mitterand also commissioned the Louvre Glass Pyramid which has the exact same proportions as the Great Pyramid of Giza.

The Proverbial ‘Bakshish’ and the Mubaraks

May 18th, 2011

What is “Bakshish”? Tourists often ask. Stricktly speaking it is a ‘tip’ or payment for services rendered. In Egypt, however, the term ‘Bakshish’ has a wider use, and is sometimes replaced by ‘Azemni Shaiy’ which literally translates as ‘Offer me a Tea’ or, more suruptiously ‘Pay me a bribe’. This way of ‘payment’ has been so widespread that it affected all aspects of life, including the police, government officials and anyone in a position to do you a ‘favour’ or bend the rules for you. This form of social corruption was so deeply entrenched in the collective psyche of Egyptians that it became a way of life, seen as a totally ‘nornal’ practice to get things done –legally or illegally.  Naturally it favoured those who had the money; whereas those who could not afford it were obliged to suffer the humiliation and abuse of police and officials for the most minute service  –which meant not only waiting hours (sometimes days) at a goverment office for obtaining, say, a birth certificate or such like document. Anyone who has had the misfortune of having to deal with goverment department to obtain this or that permit or licence will attest to the terrible corruption and the overwhelming ‘red tape’ that completely choked the system. Yet what could take days, months or years to obtain (if you were lucky) only took minutes if you had money and were willing to pay that proverbial ‘cup of tea’.

If there is one thing that the young people who carried out the 25th January Revolution wanted out  –other than Mubarak and his regime– was this despicable, abusive, totally corrupt way of the proverbial ‘cup of tea’. This is not only because it has choked and ruined the otherwise normal process of government administration and commerce, but also because it has debased Egyptian dignity and made it the laughing stock of all foreigners who visit this country.  In the ‘new Egypt’ no one must be above the law or be granted special favours simply because he or she can ‘pay’ their way. Everyone must be subjected to the rule of law and everyone must be entitle to his or her rights according to the constitution and the law and rules of the land. No one is above this.

If the Supreme Military Council and the General Attorney accept ‘payment’ from the Mubaraks to let them off the hook and grant them amnesty for their horrific crimes against the Egyptian people, then this will be the ultimate humiliation for Egypt as a whole, and will totally unermine what the 25th January Revolution stands for. Not only it is totally wrong and unacceptable for granting amnesty to the Mubaraks in this way, but the irony is that they money and assets the Mubaraks are offering belonged to the nation in the first place!

People of Egypt, if you allow this to happen not only will you have sold out the 25th January Revolution but also the very soul of Egypt.

The Egyptian people must have faith in the judicial system and the constitution. They must believe that every citizen, no matter his creed or his position, in accountable to the law.

The Mubaraks must go to trial. Justice must be done. The fate and future of the new Egypt depends on this.

14 May 1998: The 50 Year Jubilee for the State of Israel

May 14th, 2011

img_2757a.jpg

 (The plaque at the foot of the ‘Paris’ Obelisk in Place de la Concorde)

Translation: “This obelisk, offered by Egypt to France in 1830, to serve eternally as a bond between the two countries, has been dressed by its pyramidion of origin on 14th May 1998, under the presidency of Jacques Chirac in the presence of Catherine Trautmann, Minister of Culture and Communication, and Dr. Maher El Sayed, Ambassador of Egypt for the occasion of the Year France-Egypt “Shared Horizons” and the visit of the president oftored the Arab Repu of Egypt, HOSNI MUBARAK. The monunent thus restored is dedicated to Jean-Francois Champollion, founder of Egyptology, who chose it from the temple of Luxor. This pyramidion is realized thanks to the support of Yves Saint-Laurent, Pierre Berge and the House of Yves Saint-Laurent. “