New Egyptian Antiquities Minister Quits

Abdel Fattah al-Banna, the newly former head of Egypt's antiquities ministry. Photo courtesy Al-Masry Al-Youm.

Just a few days after Egyptian antiquities minister Zahi Hawass announced that he was losing his job in a cabinet shakeup, his replacement, Abdel Fattah al-Banna, resigned the post, following criticism that he was not properly qualified for the job.

“This man, he is not an archaeologist,” Mohamed Abdel-Maksoud, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, a branch of the antiquities ministry, told Reuters. “It was a great mistake to appoint him.”

Writer Lee Rosenbaum points to a link that describes Mr. al-Banna as an associate professor at Cairo University and a stone monuments restoration specialist. He had reportedly been active in calling for Mr. Hawass’s ouster.

Mr. Abdel-Maksoud warned that Egyptian archaeologists planned to strike if Mr. al-Banna had remained in office, according to the Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm, and Reuters reports that many museum employees followed through on that threat on Monday.

Meanwhile, international papers tried to make sense of a world without Mr. Hawass, who was known for sometimes-elaborate publicity stunts and picture-perfect photo ops. The Telegraph notes that the former antiquities chief “was popular … for his flamboyant style and unchallenged commitment to promote Egypt’s treasures.”

New Egyptian Antiquities Minister Quits