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Zahi Hawass’s triumphant return

Famed Egyptologist Zahi Hawass, who unwisely took a position in Hosni Mubarak’s cabinet just a few days before the government’s downfall, has been named minister of antiquities in Egypt’s new government:  Hawass’s appointment is likely to anger pro-democracy activists who have been calling for the cabinet to purged of all old regime elements. His nomination ...

BEN CURTIS/AFP/Getty Images
BEN CURTIS/AFP/Getty Images

Famed Egyptologist Zahi Hawass, who unwisely took a position in Hosni Mubarak’s cabinet just a few days before the government’s downfall, has been named minister of antiquities in Egypt’s new government: 

Hawass’s appointment is likely to anger pro-democracy activists who have been calling for the cabinet to purged of all old regime elements.

His nomination comes amid multiplying calls by the UN cultural agency to protect Egypt’s heritage after reports of looting and theft during the unrest that followed the popular uprising.

UNESCO said on Tuesday that it would write to Egyptian authorities to officially ask for more protection for the country’s archaeological sites.

It’s also likely to prompt some grumbling from archeologists, many of whom claim that Hawass’ role as supreme gatekeeper for Egypt’s historical heritage makes it nearly impossible for researchers with competing theories to get dig permits. In any event, pharaohs may come and go, but it seems like it will take a lot more than a revolution to dislodge Hawass from his perch.  

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