Abdel-Rahman Sherief |
Antiquity smuggling has witnessed an unprecedented surge in the two years since the 25 January Revolution since it is an easy way to make immediate money, even if it is on the account of Egypt’s heritage and history.
The fragile security situation in the country and the financial and economic ordeals the population is suffering from are considered the main reasons behind this phenomenon. Given that a small, wooden, carved Pharaonic statue or a marble bust can be sold for a large sum of US dollars, there are many who take advantage of this immediate influx of cash that can immediately improve their standard of living.
This situation provoked a few young Egyptians to start a public effort to try to stop this loss of historical artefacts by launching the independent “Stop the heritage drain” movement, which posts and publicises photos of the missing pieces on the internet on their Facebook page. “The Ministry of Antiquities must declare the theft of antiquities to stop the smugglers from being able to market the stolen pieces internationally,” Yasmin El-Dorghamy, movement cofounder, said.