This is a tragic situation in my opinion. Dr. Hawass, the chief archeologist and the man in charge of all of Egypt's historic sites, digs, museums and galleries, has decided that with looting going on at such an extensive pace, and the military government failing to respond to his repeated requests to shore up security around the irreplaceable historical, artistic and archeological locations, he must resign his ministerial position to draw attention to the situation.
Indeed, the situation must be quite bad in terms of providing police protection or military protection because Dr. Hawass is now calling on the young people who started the revolt in Egypt to come together and protect the nation's treasures and legacy as one of the world's greatest and earliest civilizations. I wonder how the more militantly Islamic revolutionaries and the Islamic Brotherhood will view protecting the treasures of the past - will they see them as idols? Will they see the Pharaohs as despots like Mubarak was believed to be?
The Metropolitan Museum of Art joined Hawass in his concerns, issuing a statement today:
The Met and the entire museum community worldwide are increasingly concerned about what appear to be ongoing, grievous security breaches at Egypt's historic sites and archaeological digs," the museum's director, Thomas P. Campbell, said in a statement Thursday.
"The world cannot sit by and permit unchecked anarchy to jeopardize the cultural heritage of one of the world's oldest, greatest, and most inspiring civilizations. We echo the voices of all concerned citizens of the globe in imploring Egypt's new government authorities ... to protect its precious past. Action needs to be taken immediately."
Dr. Hawass has listed a number of disastrous crimes against the antiquities of Egypt in recent days on his personal website: