return looted artefacts
Dr. Zahi Hawass
have worked tirelessly since 2002 to repatriate artefacts that were stolen from Egypt. My intention has never been to bring back legitimately-acquired Egyptian objects currently in museums around the world, but to return recently looted artefacts. In honor of the upcoming opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum, I am circulating this petition.
Before the founding of the antiquities service in the 19th century, while Egypt was under the control of the French & the British, the country was plundered and its antiquities were illegally exported. As a first step toward the decolonialization of foreign museums, we are requesting the return of two of the iconic objects that were pillaged from Egypt: the Rosetta Stone at the British Museum; and the Zodiac of Dendera at the Louvre.
The Rosetta Stone was taken in 1799 by the occupying French army, and seized in 1801 by the British, who took it to England in 1802. Egypt never had a say in the matter. In this day and age, with the whole world talking about the decolonization of Western museums, it seems absurd that the British Museum would continue to hold on to such a blatant symbol of its colonial past. The Rosetta Stone is an icon of our Egyptian identity, and it should be returned.
The Zodiac was ripped from its position in the ceiling of a chapel in the Temple of Dendera by the French in the 1820s, and has been in the Louvre since 1922. It is a unique and important artifact, and its removal from Egypt was completely unethical and should be brought back to its rightful home.
Returning these two iconic artifacts to Egypt would show the commitment of Western museums to decolonizing their collections and making reparations for the past. They would be prominently displayed in the new Grand Egyptian Museum, scheduled to be opened in 2023.
We are calling on the international community to demand the repatriation of these objects and show that the world knows that these objects belong in Egypt. The signatories of this petition support the abovementioned requests for repatriation.