Images of recent disturbances from Tahir Square, Cairo, in January and February 2011, will make anybody who intends to send anything, including cultural artefacts, to Egypt, very hesitant. Also, the looting of artefacts from the Egyptian Museum, Cairo and elsewhere in Egypt makes those interested in the preservation of cultural treasures extremely worried. But the disorder, revolt or revolution in Egypt does not change the nature of the debate on restitution nor does it provide any convincing excuse for the retentionists in the Western world. The determination not to return the Rosetta stone to Egypt has never been based on the security or insecurity in Egypt. Those who are against restitution will use the present situation as an excuse for rejecting the restitution of the bust of Nefertiti to Cairo. Dr. Christina Riggs has correctly remarked:
“Egyptology websites, discussion lists, even Facebook groups have circulated updates about suspected looting, and several organisations have issued statements calling for the protection of Egypt’s antiquities. Ironically, such statements come on the heels of vigorous US and European rejections of Egyptian requests to repatriate objects, including some granted to foreign excavators before the 1920s”.
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