As it has now turned out, Zahi Hawass is in Mubarak's new Cabinet as Minister for Cultural Affairs or some such thing. He reported to the press how the antiquities in the Cairo Museum were saved and how he told the beduin who stole some objects being stored in Sinai to return these items or else; and they did.
Everyone knows Zahi Hawass. Even if he is a little bit of a headline grabber and an egotist, everyone knows he is a stern taskmaster and fair. He has a worldwide reputation and thinks Mubarak should be allowed to finish out his term in a dignified manner.
In the meantime, he could handle the transition and he would do it with aplomb, insight, and intelligence. One can't say the same for Muhammad el-Barradei who suddenly, very suspiciously, crept into the headlines and returned to Egypt just in time to be shoved front and center among the 'opposition' movements.
We all know who he is and how he basically "stretched out" and stalled the "inspection process" of nuclear sites making any sort of real international coalition almost impossible during the run-up to the First Iraq War. He has continued to perform a similar service even in the Obama administration over the years of the Iran embargo and nuclear inspection crisis before suddenly reemerging as an Egyptian presidential candidate even before returning to Egypt after his extended term as UN Nuclear Watchdog finally came to an end.
Nobel Prizes don't have the same currency they once enjoyed these days; but in his case and against the background of the present highly-charged and fast-paced events surrounding the Tunisian and Egyptian crises, his Prize just adds to the impression of his suspiciousness.
Not only this, but his sudden materialization on the scene, to say nothing of his acceptance by the Muslim Brotherhood (adding to that of the Iranian Mullahs) just makes him all the more worrisome. No: Zahi Hawass is the man. Let him be elevated to the Prime Minister-ship. He will treat Mubarak with the dignity many Egyptians sensitive to national pride and honor feel a man of his stature and years of service (good or bad) deserves.
Hawass knows about the West and its institutions and ways. He will ensure 'Democracy' in Egypt, not out-of-control mobs upon the streets (pro or contra -- we all know where things of this kind, however seemingly well-intentioned, led in the French Revolution, the Russian, and in Germany and Iran -- this one seeming obviously to being 'played' by Hamas-like supervisors in the form of the Muslim Brotherhood sitting quietly in the background).
Not only are they the only really organized 'opposition' force in Egypt -- not to mention that they were the ones who literally murdered his predecessor, the masterful Anwar Sadat which explains Mubarak's continued repression of them good or bad -- people have short memories.
These are the sort of people who have no respect for "pagan" antiquities as we saw in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Zawass, though himself a Muslim, is a fanatic when it comes to protecting Egypt's pre-Muslim culture. He will do it again now in this crisis, plus save the basis of Egyptian tourism.
He would ensure a proper and methodical, no-rush transition. He would ensure all are treated with the respect and care they are due. He is a hard taskmaster, as I said, but a fair one. Anyone who watches his programs would be able to testify to this.
Let him now save his country. He is the only one with the international stature and reputation to do it. He will be able to accomplish this in Mubarak's last six months. Elevate him. Give him both the reins and the responsibility. Now we will have archaeology coming to the rescue of Modern Egypt and not the other was round.
He who has done so much to save Egypt's antiquities, could now be the one best-placed to preserve Egypt's unique and at-risk cultural dynamic. Elevate him to the Premiership. He certainly will not fail. He has never done so before.
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