Seth Did Not Attend the Honoring Party
By Zahi Hawass

            The world of the Pharaohs is full of magic and mystery.  People today still invoke the curse of the Pharaohs, even some modern Egyptologists, whose eyes are full of envy and gossip.  I had never seen an Egyptologist honored during his lifetime, but there is always an exception.  Last week foreign and Egyptian Egyptologists met at the Association of Arab Archaeologists in an auditorium at Cairo University to honor Dr. Ali Radwan.

            When I was invited by Dr. Mohamed El Kalaway to attend the honoring party, I thought that only a few friends of Dr. Radwan would attend the event.  I listened to many of them give speeches to honor this man who has dedicated his life to Egyptology.  He has taught art, prehistory, and archaeology to many students.  He has always acknowledged archaeological problems and will stand in front of any person who would hurt the monuments of Egypt.  I saw Gaballa Ali Gaballa, the General Secretary of the Supreme Council of Antiquities speak about a great lady, Radwan’s mother.  She raised this man, who became such an exceptional treasure.  My dear friend Dr. Tohfa Handousa talked about the good days that made them like brothers and said that Dr. Radwan always had an answer to any question that she ever asked him about Egyptology.  My favorite, another dear friend, was Rainer Stadelman.  He is one of the most important and knowledgeable living Egyptologists.  He talked about how he met Ali Radwan when he was young and realized that he was a promising Egyptologist.  Later he watched Radwan become a solid scholar in the field.  Also, the famous writer Sakina Fouad spoke about his wife and said that she should be honored along with him because her love, support, and dedication gave him the opportunity to reach for the top.  Finally, his friend Mohamed El Kalaway, who teaches Islamic art and archaeology, spoke.  As a good friend, he talked about Radwan as a human being.  Khalaway organized and made this event possible.

            I first met Dr. Ali Radwan in 1978, when I joined the Diploma at Cairo University.  He taught me Egyptian art and architecture.  What I liked most about him was that he chose every word with care and could explain an Egyptian statue as if he was a lover talking about his beautiful lady.  His voice would ring in your ear with the music of his love for the monuments.  He had way of explaining the monuments that could make both a scholar and a member of the public fall in love with archaeology.  He is one of the few scholars who can lecture to both the public and scholars without reading from notes as many do.  Ali Radwan wrote two important books that became solid textbooks for our field.  The first is on the scenes of royalty in a private tomb in Thebes (Luxor).  The second is about the bronze objects from ancient Egypt dating from the predynastic period until the end of ancient Egyptian history.  After that, we became very close friends, and he is one of the few people who is actually near my heart.

            Tohfa Handousa, and myself used to meet every Saturday and listen to the advice of Dr. Radwan and Gamal Mokhtar, learn from their knowledge, and hear news of Egyptology.  Now after the death of my great friend Mokhtar, every two weeks Handousa, Radwan, and myself meet for dinner to discuss the future of the monuments.  He worked as the Inspector of Antiquities in the Fayum, then he went to finish his doctorate in Germany and returned as a professor of Egyptology in the Faculty of Archaeology.  He began his fieldwork at Abousir, where he found many secrets in the sand.  He discovered an important cemetery that dated back to Dynasty I (3000 BC).  He also found boat pits near the tombs with wooden scraps that proved to be sailing boats.  He is looking now for the Sun Temples at Abousir, especially those that have not been discovered yet.  Radwan used to take his students and teach them excavation technique at the site.  It is rare nowadays to find a man like him who has in his heart the history and archaeology of Egypt.  This is why he is loved by all.  We watched him when he stood up to thank everyone.  I saw the tears of love in his eyes and how he looked to his lovely wife to say thank you to her.

            The devil does not like things to go this smoothly.  The Pharaoh’s Curse has to come up, and jealous men appear as the representatives of Seth, the Egyptian god of the devil.  At this party, though, Seth did not attend.  Only Hathor and Horus, who represent faithfulness and love, came to the party honoring Dr. Ali Radwan.  

Who is Seth you ask? You can read about him HERE.

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