Outrage in Egypt over ‘shameful’ Paris statue of Champollion

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Egyptian archeologists have condemned the Paris statue of Jean François Champollion, the French archaeologist who deciphered hieroglyphics, as “derogatory” and “shameful.”

The reason is that Champollion appears on the statue standing with his left foot on a Pharaonic head.

The statue was carved in 1875 by Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi and is located in the main courtyard of the Collège de France.

Al Ahram Online reported on Tuesday that Egyptian archaeologists have condemned the statue as “derogatory toward Egyptian Civilization,” in a letter sent to the Egyptian foreign and antiquities ministries. The archaeologists also urged the French government to remove the “shameful statue.”

Omar al-Hadary, chairman of the Tourism and Antiquities Committee of the Revolutionary Youth Federation, demanded that government ban all French archeological missions until the statue is removed and the French government Issue an apology to Egyptians, according to Al Ahram Online.

The news website quoted Antiquities Minister Mohamed Ibrahim as saying that he would send an official complaint to the French mission in Cairo and to the French minister of culture.

“Such a statue disturbs the cultural relationship between Egypt and France which has been good since the French expedition to Egypt,” Ibrahim told Ahram Online.

Al-Masry Al-Youm had reported in January that al-Hadary warned of increased hatred to the West if the statue is not removed.

“This will make us hate the West more,” he said. “The French learned a hard lesson during their campaign that Egypt gained independence with the blood and lives of its sons.”

“The French government must remove this shameful statue or we will make thousands of insulting statues to put in all squares of Egypt and outside the French Embassy,” Hadary added, according to the Al-Masry Al-Youm.

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