In a tweet, King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) has announced signing a joint agreement with the Supreme Council of Egyptian Antiquities, through which the Saudi organization will borrow 84 artifacts from Cairo’s Museum of Islamic Art collection for two years. However, some social media users protested the agreement and questioned the reason behind it.
#Ithra signs an agreement with the Supreme Council of Egyptian Antiquities for joint cooperation on the upcoming mosque-focused exhibition, “Shatr AlMasjid.” The agreement includes a two-year loan of 84 artifacts from Cairo’s Museum of Islamic Art collection— إثراء (@Ithra) November 9, 2020
In the statement, Ithra clarified that the artifacts loaned will be displayed in an upcoming art exhibition for two years in the city of Dhahran, to the east of Saudi Arabia.
The exhibition is said to celebrate the artistic aspects of Islamic architecture evident in historical mosques, many of which exist in Egypt. This exhibition is only part of extensive Saudi efforts to launch cultural and art-related activities in the country, as part of the government's plans to introduce social reforms in the country, along with the strategic plans to encourage tourists to visit the country.
طيب كنت أعرتهم تيران وصنافير ?— Remo (@Remo17713815) November 10, 2020
ولا عشان كل مانشوف آثار في السعودية
تقول دي إعارة ? pic.twitter.com/4EeiJ8Ufe3
Translation: "How come he [Egyptian president] didn't loan them Tiran and Sanafir as well?"
إعارة آثار مصرية لـ السعودية لمدة عامين وبكده السعودية تبقي واخدة مننا التاريخ والجغرافيا ..— الدقـــــــ®ـــــــــر™ (@JaberDayi) November 11, 2020
Translation: "Loaning Egyptian artifacts to Saudi for two years. This means Saudi has now taken over both our geography and history."
However, some Egyptian social media users reacted angrily to the news, saying that "authorities are giving Saudi Arabia everything." In their tweets, online people remembered the Egyptian decision to transfer sovereignty over the Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia in 2017, which was met by strong public opposition at that time.
إعارة !— YoØoya? (@yoya_aae) November 10, 2020
إنتو خلصتو ع اللاعيبة أخدتو مكانهم أثار https://t.co/ahu1SZcUwX
Translation: "So now they've borrowed all football players and it's artifacts' turn?"
At the same time, many tweets mocked the decision of loaning the Egyptian artifacts to Saudi, saying that "not only does the GCC country borrow Egypt's best talents to work in the country, including football players, but also historical artifacts seem to have found jobs there."
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