Egypt's Tomb Raider, Off and (Mostly) on Camera

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In the seven years since he was named general secretary of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Dr. Hawass has been in perpetual motion. He personally announces every new discovery, was the force behind plans to construct 19 new museums, approved the restoration of nine synagogues in Cairo and has contributed to countless books, documentaries, magazine and newspaper articles all promoting Egyptian antiquities — and, of course, himself.

Naturally, this does not always win him friends, and he has been taken to task for his critical statements about Jews. He insists, though, that he is not anti-Semitic and that his remarks were aimed only at Israeli Jews and their treatment of the Palestinians.

There are scientists who say he is too concerned with self-promotion and is often loose with facts. There are Egyptian antiquities workers who complain that he takes credit for their accomplishments. But his penchant for drama and his virtual monopoly over Egypt’s unrivaled ancient riches have earned him an international following and helped Egypt sell itself to tourists at a time when tourism dollars are increasingly scarce.

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John Boyle - 4/19/2009

Hawass is a self-serving egomaniac who has deprived many deserving archaeologists of their due credit for often years of labour. Egypt should be ashamed of allowing his blatant self-promotion.