Saturday, August 31, 2013

#Mallawi Museum Tragedy : We continue to lose our history

On August 16, 2013 while Egypt was witnessed the aftermath following the dispersal of Rabaa and Nahda sits in ,the Mallawi museum in the city of MallawiMinya governorate was completely looted and destroyed.

For hours the museum was looted completely and the police did nothing , it did not stop the looters. I ran through the photos of the looted antiquities and one thing for sure the looters did not come individually but they came in big pick up in order to transfer that large amount of artifacts. Here is a slide show for the museum from “Egypt’s heritage task force

It is very sad.

Officially 1089 artifacts were stolen from that museum. Only 216 artifacts have been restored so far.

Of course people and media back in Cairo accused the Muslim brotherhood and Islamists especially that there were on going attacks against Churches and shops owned by Christians in the same governorate at the same time. Well I do not think they are Islamists but rather the antiquities traders and their thugs in the area. I believe the looters and their bosses of antiquities traders seized the opportunity in the chaos.

Well regardless of the police ,I wonder why all those years since the inauguration of that valuable museum in 1960s, it did not have enough modern security systems at all !!

To be honest I admit that as Egyptian , it is the first time I know that there is a museum in Mallawi in the first place let alone a very rich and important museum like that despite it was founded in 1962 !!!

Anyhow in an attempt to save what we can save from our stolen heritage , archeological Facebook pages published some of the stolen artifacts including some of their descriptions.

Many of the antiquities go back to the Greco-Roman age. There are antiquities from more ancient times.

I gathered dozens of the photos in a Storify slide show, may be we can save some of these artifacts and stop them of being sold in auctions and so on.

I will post the rest of the photos in another post. Please spread them as much as you can especially if you are in country that got auction houses that sell ancient artifacts.

You must know that the illegal digging and excavation are spreading like epidemic through out Egypt. Looters do not give a damn for the police or the army. 

For decades we saw our history while it is stolen in front of us. This has to be stopped.


  1. Dear Zeinobia,

    UNESCO has already launched an international warning on this looting and provides with a complete list of the looted pieces so that they may be retrived more easily. YOu'll find this information in arabic at

  2. Far from the truth this museum is on the list of the UNESCO world heritage sites and I'm really heart broken and disgusted

    For those of us that study late antique Egypt this is a well known museum and it had some of finest art of Greco-Roman and late antique Egypt (the period up to the end of the Umayyads when Egypt was changing from the very sophisticated and very artistic late antiquity to the backward and poor medieval Egypt under the Arabs that invaded Egypt in 642CE) and it is indeed the heart of what i can call Coptic Egypt and it is the area that produced the great collection of papyri from Oxyrhyncus (and how many Muslim Egyptians know about it or even care about it? not may and they need to teach young Egyptians about their own heritage and that most Egyptians did not come from al-Hijaz) and not very far off in Nag Hammadi the discovery of the Nag Hammadi library was made in 1945 and the whole library is at the Coptic museum in Cairo! But is it safe now? and you tell me how many Muslim Egyptians know about the Nag Hammadi library or its significance in the history of religion in late antiquity
    As for security systems: you expect Egyptians to know about their own history and heritage and to love it and admire and not vandalize it and steal or destroy it but what do you expect from people that wanted to destroy the pyramids and the sphinx?
    And i disagree with you: those that trade in antiques know very well that you cannot sell stolen antiques and you cannot export stolen antiques any where across the world there is just no market for them and all antique dealers check the UNESCO web site for alerts before selling or trading any such antiques and you cannot import antiques in most of the civilized world.
    I do believe that this despicable act has the same finger prints of the MB that destroyed the Virgin Church in Delga Minyya and torched and looted it and it was built in the 4th century common era and they are destroying the heritage of not just Egypt but all of humanity

    1. This is just an addendum to the above post: the attack, looting and destruction of the library of Mohamed Hassanain Heykal is another crime against the people of Egypt and their modern history

      You can like or you can hate him and Gamal Abd el-Nasser nonetheless Heykal had one of the largest original and primary literary sources about the past 60-70 years of the history of Egypt in general and Gamal Abd el-Nasser in particular and what a crime

      Just ask yourselves why would the MB want to destroy the history of modern Egypt? They do this is wahhabi land but this is a crime and my answer is they really as their leaders say: Masr sakan mesh watan! Despicable people

      I urge Egyptians to get the legal system go after the MB and their leaders with deep pockets the likes of Khairat el-Shater and demand financial compensation for all the destruction that they caused and to go after the likes of Morsi and Badie for inciting violence and now we are seeing its ugly results and if the MB goes bankrupt this would be music to my ears


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