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Published On: Sun, Dec 21st, 2014

French Post-Colonial Arrogance prompts Cultural Row with Egypt

Christof Lehmann (nsnbc) : A statue of the French philologist Jean-Francois Champollion at the main courtyard of the Collége de France, Paris, prompts a post-colonial cultural row with Egypt. Champollion, known for finding the key to the Rosetta Stone that afforded the translation of Egyptian hieroglyphs, stands, carved in stone, with his foot on the head of an Egyptian Pharaoh.

The Base Of The French Jean-François Champillon Statue Infuriating Egyptian Officials - Helene Patrick. Photo, courtesy of The Cairo Post.

The Base Of The French Jean-François Champollion Statue Infuriating Egyptian Officials - Helene Patrick. Photo, courtesy of The Cairo Post.

Philologist Jean-Francois Chapollion discovered the key Rosetta Stone and that key to translating ancient hieroglyphs in the 1820s, that is, about two decades after the end of Napoleon’s French campaign in Egypt and Syria from 1798 to 1801 and the defeat of French ambitions for control over the region.

The statue of Champollion was carved during the 1870s. The Egyptian Culture Minister was quoted by Youm7 and The Cairo Post, last week, as saying:

“A letter has been sent to the French authorities to remove this statue and I’m confident that the French authorities will respond positively  to the request.”

The Cairo Post spoke with Egyptian archaeologist Sherif el-Shabban, quoting him as saying: that “Several Egyptian archaeologists have condemned the statue, describing it as shameful and insulting to Egyptian civilization”. Shabban informed The Cairo Post that a letter, signed by over 200 prominent Egyptian archaeologists was already sent to the Egyptian Foreign and Antiquities Ministries earlier this year, demanding the removal of the statue.

Meanwhile, it appears that the administration of French President Francois Hollande, whose approval rating is at an all-time low of 16 percent, hasn’t any ambitions to remove the symbol of French colonial arrogance, carved in stone, from the main courtyard of the Collége de France.

It’s noteworthy that the Hollande administration has its very own Syrian campaign, albeit it, this time around, is with England as a NATO partner rather than as a foe. As former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas put it earlier this year. France has become a midget, but it hat become the vanguard dog of NATO.

Champollion continues to trample on the head of an Egyptian Pharaoh, carved in stone and publicly displayed, and it is likely that he will continue to stand there as long as France continues to keep its absolute neo-colonial stranglehold on its former West African colonies too.

Compared to the fact that France virtually has absolute control over the national economies of the UMEOA member states, would it care about trampling on the head of an Egyptian King?

And what impact would it have on Hollande’s approval ratings? And do 16% make him the “legitimate ruler” which he claims Bashar al-Assad in Syria isn’t? No, No Monsieur! France will continue to trample on anyone, as long as it can, even if it is under orders from Washington and London.

CH/L – nsnbc 21.12.2014

About the Author

- Dr. Christof Lehmann is the founder and editor of nsnbc. He is a psychologist and former independent political consultant on conflict, conflict resolution and a wide range of other political issues. In March 2013 he established nsnbc as a daily, independent, international on-line newspaper. He can be contacted at nsnbc international at

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  1. So many shameless people promoting demoncracy…

    • .. is it possible that in such Mondial center there is no culture, science, free people strongly protesting against this vulgarity. This is not a harassment of contemporary Egyptian people as it is a universal humiliation of every character with zero+ morality. Champollion included.

  2. Debbie says:

    Well spotted!!!
    Besides, the French, Brits and others have more than one Egyptian skeleton in their closets. And neither the French not the British govs do anything against the auctioning off of stolen Egyptian antiques. It’s right, they don’t care and thanks for bringing up the French UMEOA racket within this context!!! Arrogant grave robbers.

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