The Incredible Reappearing Minister: Zahi Hawass
The Art Newspaper (along with several Middle Eastern news sources, in Arabic) has reported that Hawass has been asked to stay on the job as Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities, at least for now.
Martin Bailey of the Art Newspaper writes:
On July 19 he [Hawass] told the Art Newspaper that Prime Minister Essam Sharaf has asked him to continue to go to work. However, Hawass’ future is now very uncertain.
According to this report (in Arabic) from Egypt’s Al-Wafd newspaper, Hawass owes his reprieve to “instructions issued by…Sharaf…on Tuesday to all current ministers to return to the offices to run their ministries.” In a cabinet shake-up, many new ministers were recently named. But in the midst of turmoil and protests, the swearings-in were delayed.
The nomination of Abdel-Fattah El-Banna to replace Hawass was withdrawn, after he was rejected by the secretariat of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities. The council objected to El-Banna’s being a restorer, not an archaeologist.
I’m starting to regret ever picking up this story. In an unstable Egypt, these shifts back-and-forth seem to have no end. I’ve noticed that Kate Taylor of the NY Times hasn’t touched this since she posted online Sunday that Hawass was going to “lose his job in a cabinet reshuffle.”