I went to Cairo in September 2008, for a brief visit with my Mum in the leadup to my birthday. There's a lot of amazing stuff to see there, naturally, but I was especially excited about visiting the Egyptian Museum (the entrace to which is pictured above - taking photos inside is forbidden). It was a strange experience - after visiting so many museums all over the world that hold a great deal of Egypt's cultural heritage, to see it here in its home was almost unreal. The museum itself is a lovely old building, and there is some great stuff on display; they aren't exactly rolling in funds so some of it isn't as flash as it could be, but in some ways that doesn't matter - it's the objects and the history that really speaks at this museum.
My museum keyword news alert has been on fire the last few days in Google Reader after what's happened at the museum - looting and damage. There is a little information here and Boing Boing has a little amongst all their coverage too. The Classical Archaeology tumblr's got a lot of info on their first couple of pages as well. I feel like with all that's going on I still need to think this part of events through and get this out. Much like when the Iraq war was at its height and museums were being looted and cultural heritage destroyed, i'm a big mix of confused and upset. No matter how angry you are, no matter how much you want change, no matter who you are, there is nothing to be gained from destroying cultural material. It's especially upsetting seeing looters (and perhaps others, depending on what you're reading) take advantage of this situation to ruin their own historic treasures. It really doesn't compute for me. I trust that there are enough sensible folks in Cairo who will be able to prevent any more damage, and it's seriously terrible it's gone this far. I hope that things can get safe in general for everyone in Cairo too, as soon as possible.
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