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Published on 15 August 2011
I am sorry that I have not updated my website for the past several weeks. I have had to spend a great deal of my time dealing with false accusations that have been made against me. I am now waiting for the Office of the Attorney General to finish their investigation; after this I will be free to publish the details of these ridiculous allegations.
I am glad to say that I have also found time to work on a book about the Egyptian Revolution, and its effect on our antiquities. I am also getting ready to start the second part of my archaeological autobiography, Secrets from the Sand Part II.
My life as a private person is very different from my life as an antiquities official, and apart from having to deal with false accusations, I am enjoying my freedom from the great responsibility I have been carrying for the past nine years. I get up early and go to my office, where I have all of my Egyptological books. As I have done for most of my life, I work seven days a week. I do not use my private car; I take taxis and walk on the street, enjoying the crowds of Cairo. Every day I am blessed to see first-hand how so many Egyptians respect and love me.
The other day, I sat beside a taxi driver who lives in Nazlet el-Samman, the village at the foot of the pyramids. He told me that he had witnessed how some of the camel and horse drivers united against me during the Revolution, because they had seen this as an opportunity to get rid of me. The driver told me, “Sir, anyone who loves his country should know that the project you did at the pyramids will make this area into an open museum, not a zoo like it is now.”
He added that he had seen himself how so many of the drivers deceive and cheat the tourists, and that my project would make all the drivers equal, because there will be a system, controlled by police, antiquities officials, and health authorities. He also told me that the Egyptians are proud of me and love me, and that all the foreigners who ride in his taxi know me, and that this made him happy and proud. And at the end, he refused to take the taxi fare!
Another time, I was walking in Lebanon Street, waiting to cross. A car with five young men and women inside stopped and asked if they could take a picture with me, because I am the “Indiana Jones of Egypt.” I was honored to be photographed with them.
Strangers have even called me to offer their support, like one lady who said she had spent a long time trying to get my cell number, so she could tell me that many people know that the people writing against me are wrong, and not to worry. “You live in our hearts,” she told me. Another family invited me to have sohoor with them. The mother told me that her nine-year-old son was dreaming of meeting me. So I went, and brought one of my children’s books for him.
These are only a few stories of the many that I experience every day. People in Egypt never see a former minister walking in the street, but I love to do it, and love to buy things on the street and meet the shopkeepers as well.
Although I am being attacked regularly in the media, I have decided not to appear on local television, and not to spend all my time defending myself. I decided to write this short update simply to tell my friends all over the world that I am fine. The preservation and promotion of our priceless heritage is my life, and I will never give up. I am happy now to work for antiquities as a private person, and I will always do anything in my power to help.
To my friends with love.
13 June 2013
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