The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has commented on the situation in Egypt ("UNESCO Director-General launches heritage and press freedom alert for Egypt", UNESCO February 1, 2011).
The Director-General called on all parties to protect Egyptian cultural heritage, symbol of the country’s identity, and to respect freedom of expression, pillar of democracy. Although the situation in Egypt is evolving rapidly, reports from Egypt concerning these two domains are a cause for deep concern, the Director-General said.I am grateful to Chuck Jones for directing me to this story.
“Egyptian cultural heritage, both its monuments and its artefacts, are part of the ancestral heritage of humanity, handed down to us through the ages,” she said. “The value of the 120,000 pieces in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo is inestimable, not only in scientific or financial terms, but because they represent the Egyptian people’s cultural identity. The proof, hundreds of citizens spontaneously formed a chain around the museum to protect it. I solemnly request that all necessary measures be taken to safeguard Egypt’s treasures, in Cairo, Luxor and in all the other cultural and historical sites around the country.”