Monday, January 31, 2011

Loyalists & Protesters unify to defend Egypt's museum

During a rebellion/revolution/riot/unrest, there are always debates over whether the crowds defying the government are thugs or heroes. And, as in the American revolution, sometimes the line between the two is a fuzzy one. For those wondering about the protesters in Egypt - and the police - there is an indication that both sides are full of men and women of conscience, as they worked together to defend the Egyptian museum from would-be looters. Even amidst societal chaos, they found common ground on true universal priorities.

When fire broke out on Friday night at the ruling party's headquarters, Khaled Youssef, an Egyptian film director who has made movies critical of government policies, issued an urgent call on the Al Arabiya television channel: "I am calling on the Egyptian army to head instantly to the Egyptian Museum. There is a fire right next to it in the party headquarters," he said in a report relayed by Reuters.

As the fire raged, would-be thieves started entering the grounds surrounding the museum, The Associated Press reported. But other young men, some armed with truncheons taken from the police, formed a protective human chain outside the museum's main gates. "I'm standing here to defend and to protect our national treasure," one of the men, a 40-year-old engineer named Farid Saad, told AP.

AP quoted 26-year-old Ahmed Ibrahim as saying that it was important to guard the museum because it has "5,000 years of our history. If they steal it, we'll never find it again."

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