After the Netflix-Cleopatra controversy, it is the choice of singers Beyoncé and Rihanna as Queen Nefertiti, American rapper Nas as Tutankhamun and actor Eddie Murphy as Ramses, taken by the National Museum of Leiden, dedicated to ancient history, which is triggering a new cultural controversy between Egypt and Holland. The Egyptian newspaper Al-Fagr opened hostilities by writing in its pages that "this exhibition is provocative and requires explanation.»
This first salvo was only the tip of the iceberg since according to The Times The Egyptian authorities immediately took a first retaliatory measure by prohibiting Dutch archaeologists from now on returning to Egypt.
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The Leiden Museum echoes Gim's
The Leiden Museum tried to defend his approach by stating that the Kemet (literally Black Earth) exhibition had the sole purpose of "exploring the importance of ancient Egypt and Nubia in the work of musicians from the African diaspora." Before adding to justify their choices of personification, "In Egyptology, the science that deals with ancient Egypt, Egypt has long been studied mainly in the context of the Mediterranean region... but many musicians with African roots point out that ancient Egypt is an African culture." A pro domo plea that strangely echoes the recent statements, to say the least controversial, of the rapper Gims.
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According to Hossam Zidan, the archaeology specialist of the newspaper Al-Fagr, the arguments of the curators of the Dutch exhibition are not very convincing: "They should have specified that the exhibition concerns non-Egyptian African musicians. This is in line with history, reality and logic, because they were not and will not be Egyptians."
While waiting for the proponents of these two visibly antagonistic parties to understand each other, the banishment of Dutch archaeologists will have a consequence that could prove unfortunate because it was the researchers of the National Museum of Leiden who played, in particular, a major role in the work during the excavations of Sakkara. Investigations carried out on this vast necropolis, located near Memphis, have revealed for half a century many testimonies of daily life at the time of the pharaohs.