Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Failure to protect Egyptian historic sites could trigger foreign intervention, warn experts

The fire that broke out in a Cairo library that houses thousands of rare documents raised concerns over the government’s and the army’s ability to protect historic sites at times of upheaval and drove several experts to warn of a possible intervention by foreign entities to preserve the heritage at risk.

Legal and archeological experts described failure to contain the fire that devoured large parts of the Scientific Complex in downtown Cairo and to rescue the priceless maps, manuscripts, and books kept inside as a disaster and warned that the possibility of similar acts of sabotage would make foreign intervention very likely.

Haggag Ibrahim, deputy chairman of the Association for the Preservation of Heritage and member of the Higher Commission for Museums, labeled those involved in setting the Scientific Complex on fire “the new Tatars” who want to erase all aspects of culture in the country.

“Those are the grandchildren of the Tatars who burned the library of Baghdad when they invaded the Muslim world,” he told Al Arabiya.

According to Ibrahim, UNESCO is now capable of placing historic sites in Egypt under international protection since Egyptians proved unable to do so themselves. Read More