Heba abd el Gawad : Arab nationalist egyptologist

There was a Bristol Museum Winter Lecture by Egyptian ‘Egyptologist’ Ms Heba abd el Gawad on 10 Feb 2022. Her dialogue is between Europe and Egypt but involves no dialogue with the rest of Africa. A very fashionable presentation playing cleverly to British guilt over colonialism and presenting herself as a modern ‘revealer’. But is this honest or sincere?

There is an amazing element of misuse of words. Serious issues can be concealed by such misuse of words. The word ‘colonial’ is used in respect of only European colonialism and avoids discussing Arab colonialism. Copts are entirely ignored. There is a recording of Zahi Hawass denying that ancient Egypt was part of the rest of Africa but really was middle eastern and that they were more like Arabs. In this sense the use of the word ‘local’ is highly prejudicial and would allow Greeks to consider themselves more local, more representative than subsequent middle eastern invaders.  Can English settlers in USA claim to be inheritors of Native American traditions? They are definitely now ‘local’. Can Afrikaaners, white Rhodesians and other apartheid settlers claim to be inheritors of Zulu/Zimbabwe traditions?

She even admits that the only connection most Egyptians feel to ancient Egyptians is the land, that is they inhabit the same land. This is not how they feel about Muslim relics or the history of the Maghreb. She also calls for integrating ‘ancient Egypt’ with Syria, Morocco, Palestine i.e. the old Ottoman Empire.n Not one word about Nubia!

This is evidence of the renewed attempt at the appropriation of ancient Egypt this time by Arab descendants.