“The Foreign Ministry did nothing about it,” said Omar al-Hadary, chairman of the Tourism and Antiquities Committee of the Revolutionary Youth Federation on Thursday. “The West will repeat such things if there is no firm reply.”
“This will make us hate the West more,” he continued. “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.
The chairman asked the Ministry of Antiquities to stop all French archaeological missions working in Egypt until a formal apology is issued and the statue is removed. He also requested that all streets named after the Frenchman be renamed. [A main street in Central Cairo is named for Champollion.—MCD]Now, there's just one thing left out of this story: the statue in the courtyard of the College de France is by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi (Americans know him for the Statue of Liberty), and it's been there since 1875.
What, no Egyptians ever noticed it before? Or is this a case of manufactured outrage? An online petition only has a few hundred signatures. France conducted military operations against Egypt at Suez in 1956, but they want to retaliate for an 1875 statue?
Oh, and Egyptian archaeologists: every time you read hieroglyphics, you owe one to Champollion.