I have just seen a video report of CNN on Zahi Hawass, the famous Egyptian archaeologist as interviewed and reported by CNN's Ben Wedeman.* Once you look carefully and ponder on the activities and statements by Hawass, you simply have to conclude that the man is totally dedicated and committed to his work. His enthusiasm for his work, for his mission appears to be unlimited. There is no doubt that his approach to the preservation and restitution of Egypt's cultural heritage will inspire many young and perhaps not so young Egyptians and other Africans to pay more attention to their rich cultural heritage which has been plundered over years by Western Europeans and Americans. Hawass has managed to convey in a vivid way that archaeology is not just a science of the past but a present and continuous study of the evolution of society as evidenced by structures and artefacts of society which can be excavated and preserved for generations of today and tomorrow. I cannot think of anyone at present who has made archaeology as lively as this Egyptian whose detractors are embarrassed by his forthright speech and ways. How much would cultural studies gain if we had more of such personalities, energetic in their actions and fearless in their words? Restitution of cultural property has definitely gained great momentum through his activities.
*This video has been posted at Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues http://paul-barford.blogspot.com/2008/12/zahi-hawass-on-cnn.html
and at SAFE Corner- Saving Antiquities For Everyone http://safecorner.savingantiquities.org/
Kwame Opoku, 22 December, 2008