As Egyptians write a new chapter, craftsman toil to preserve their artifacts

The protests in Egypt are moving to us Americans for a number of reasons. This is the first such revolution brought “by the people, for the people” … six words that carry a lot of weight in our country, thanks to our own 16th president. Egypt protestors drove President Hosni Mubarak out of office today after 18 days of demonstrations.

As protesters young and old fight for representation and a government that allows them to reach their true potential, Egypt’s best craftsmen are toiling behind the scenes making repairs to items damaged in the early hours of the protest. This work is happening in buildings that overlook Tahrir Square, where the largest protests are happening. 

According to the Associated Press, Egypt’s priceless trove of antiquities has emerged mostly unscathed from the unrest. Some 70 objects at the Victorian-era Egyptian Museum, many of them small statues, were damaged after looters broke into the museum and smashed showcases in late January.
Thankfully, the only important piece that was damaged was a statue of Tutankhamun, the boy king, on a panther. The figure of the standing king, one arm broken off, lay separate from that of the panther.

Workers are also restoring a walking stick of Tutankhamun that was stripped of its thin gold sheeting as it was thrown on the floor.

It’s inspiring to hear that early on, protesters formed a human barrier around the antiquities buildings to stop looters from pillaging its heritage. When I first read the accounts, I knew this revolution would be different from past conflicts. Egyptians are ushering in a new era by preserving the artifacts of their past.

-posted by Eric Bradley

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