Waiting for INTERNAZIONALE FESTIVAL #intfe in Ferrara I decided to keep an eye on the Middle East from Ancient times to Present. So I called my friend Laura Michelini, graduated in Egyptology at the University of Bologna. She’s a perspective phd student in Egyptology.
S.E. the Egyptian Police. Is there continuity between the ancient Egyptian History and its topical?
L.M. What was the “medjay” — the Egyptian police in antiquity, has nothing to do with the current defense bodies. A little because the distinction of the Nubian population as ethnic group no longer exists, partly because of the introduction of Greco-Roman institutions from the Ptolemaic era forward, who forcibly replaced local ones, the continuity between past and present has thinned up to fade almost completely to the present day, passing through the Arab conquest and the latest modernization of Egypt.
S.E. The relationship between power and women in Egypt. What similarities and differences can you see being a scholar? do you agree with the testimony of journalists and activists as Mona Eltahawy denouncing the violence of war?
L.M. For dynastic Egyptian conception, women are bearers of the Royal blood and the princesses/Queens have always played an important role. This is a view diametrically opposed to that of the other countries of the ancient Near East. A closer look to the importance covered by women in the past are partly even today, since the Qur’an itself considers the woman a creature worthy of respect and critical, though often mistaken. With regard to the war and complaints against violence that ensues, it is not a new theme and I think it’s fair to say the truth. Misinformation is a contagious disease.
S.E. About the effects of the Arab spring and the revolution through the eyes of a child. What are the educational and cultural principles that survive of the tradition and how they combine with Islam today when parents emigrate to Europe?
L.M. The key word today is globalization. The mixture of cultures, languages, religions and ethnic groups leads to a contemporary cosmopolitan, a kind of new “koiné”, unfortunately still marked more by differences that integration, so much that we often are faced with clashes.
You are citizens of the world, but are the prejudices between the West and Islam which prevent a concrete conjugation on all fronts, who pays the consequences are mainly expatriates, today as in the past. It is not easy to be Muslims in Europe, nowadays, as strongly traditional principles of Islam that you bring emigrants back and send the children go to clash with Western conceptions, creating intolerance and misunderstanding.
S.E. The ancient heritage is still news? What is the archaeological situation today?
L.M. Ancient Egyptian heritage is invaluable and a source of several diatribes from speculation over time, up to (for some scandalous) news that mention agreements to sub-contract this patrimony to wealthy foreign countries for the extinction of the debt. But you have to ask why. The archaeological situation is what it is, we should deplore about mistakes in the past, when everything was granted, illegal markets were blooming and the world powers raced to grab every possible finding, carving the archaeological areas as if they were really owners, taking advantage of the country’s poverty situation to their advantage. If today you are faced with a difficult situation, it is the fault of the over-exploitation of resources in the past, which today leads to the closure of many tombs in the Valley of the Kings or the pyramids of Giza. Veerything turns in a news, but nobody really listens.
Introduction. Laura Michelini has graduated with hons in East Asian Languages and Cultures of Africa and Asia. Her thesis was dedicated to Egypt.
She’s attending restoring courses in Ravenna, and she’s a perspective phd candidate in Egyptology.
She focuses on Amarna era, she’s passionated about Islamic Culture and Art, and has good knowledge of Ancient Egypt History.