Wednesday 21 August 2013

Damage to cultural sites in Egypt complements military-backed massacre of protesters

Egypt’s slide from being Arabs' centre of knowledge and great custodian of the arts and culture of Mediterranean continued as damages of heritage sites complemented the massacre of protesters in Cairo last week.

Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova
According to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation {UNESCO}, widespread looting and damages were carried out on a national museum in the city of Minya as well as religious sites heritage in Fayoum and Cairo. 

"I firmly condemned the attacks against cultural institutions of the country and looting of its property", the Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova stated. She warned that the unfortunate carnage "constitutes irreparable damage to the history and idenity of the Egyptian people".

In the past one and half months, the military coup-backed Interim Government has killed over one thousand protesters and supporters of ousted first democratically elected president of Egypt, Mohammed Morsy.

It worries me that in the last three or more decades, Egypt has been losing its respect as centre of Arab arts and culture due to political instability. One is however glad that Egypt's slide has not left a vacuum: the gulf Arab states such as Qatar, UAE are fast becoming 21 st century’s hubs of Arab arts and culture, and by extension, global tour destinations. This much I  saw, at least, on my visit to Dubai and Sharjah during the last Art Dubai Fair.

With the current situation of Egypt’s bleak future under what political analysts have described as ‘extension of Hosni Mubarak’s autocratic regime’, the Great Pyramids of Giza may not be able to stop the country’s slide into Arab world’s arts and culture irrelevance.

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