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Maintain independent antiquities ministry, Egypt's archaeologists tell Morsi

Archaeologists' syndicate calls on President Mohamed Morsi and PM Hisham Qandil to maintain independence and cabinet status of antiquities ministry

Nevine El-Aref , Friday 27 Jul 2012
Fayza Heikal
Fayza Heikal, the head of the Archaeologists Syndicate (Photo: Ahram Online)
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Egyptian archaeologists have sent a petition to President Mohamed Morsi and Prime Minister Hisham Qandil asking them to not to merge the antiquities ministry with the culture ministry, and to maintain its cabinet status.

According to a press release, which the Ahram Online has a copy of it, the archaeologists' syndicate said:

"For 30 years we lived under a corrupt system that was hostile to our cultural heritage... It kept it under the control of outsiders who sold it cheaply.

The former regime always stood against our independence and even hindered the establishment of an archaeologists' syndicate.

We must keep the ministry independent in order to prevent its resources being consumed by other ministries which they will spend on everything except preserving and protecting Egypt’s heritage, which has been suffering from neglect for decades.

The revolution took place and a new separate and independent antiquities ministry was created in the cabinet. This decision was welcomed by all archaeologists, curators and restorers who work in the field.

It does not make sense to retreat to a status that we were forced into by the old regime.

Our cultural and archaeological heritage must be protected and it deserves to be singled out for a separate and independent ministry that looks after its affairs.

We must work to reveal more secrets of our ancestors and their civilization, as well as document thousands of archaeological sites and hundreds of thousands of artefacts on display in museums.

Egypt’s cultural heritage has made our history and is an important source of the country’s national revenue."

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