this following article is directly by Hawass, in defence of Prof . Mathieu...
Is there a mafia in Egyptology?
By Zahi Hawass
Egyptian Egyptologists have often complained about the previous director of the French Institute in Cairo (IFAO). Ramadan Abdu frequently told us how his brother suffered under this man's leadership. Our students were forbidden to use the IFAO library. Yet no one can deny the scholarship and contributions of the French, from the days of Auguste Mariette and Gaston Maspero to today's great Egyptologists such as Jean Leclant, Alain Zivie, Jean- Claude Goyon, Jean Yoyotte, and many others.
We were all very happy to have a great French ambassador to Egypt -- Jean- Claude Cousseran, who is very sincere and loves the Egyptians. I met him for the first time at the annual review of the French- Egyptian Karnak Expedition. I was impressed by his personality, and glad to know that he wants to bring the relationship between our two countries to its highest peak. The cultural attaché at the embassy, Denis Louch, is also very sincere and personable, and has done his best to help everyone and strengthen both cultural relations and the friendship between our two countries.
The cultural attaché and the ambassador have done a great deal for our countries for the past two years. But there is a third person of whom I wish to speak here, and who is unique. This is Bernard Mathieu, head of the IFAO for the past five years. His scholarship is excellent, and he is unfailingly polite, with a beautiful smile. He has won the hearts of all Egyptian Egyptologists. Although quiet and calm, he has been able to get things done, showing that he is a very strong man who does not need to shout and scream to be effective. He has solved every archaeological problem that has surfaced during his tenure, and in return has helped us with many things, such as lending us his photographer, opening the library to everyone, and publishing things for us in the French Institute Bulletin (BIFAO).
But suddenly we hear that Seth is fighting hard to get rid of Mathieu. Why? I really do not know. I read a petition signed by 120 Egyptologists from all over the world asking that he might stay because of his scholarship and the important excavations he has been carrying out at Saqqara. Many Egyptologists were very upset that he was going to be forced to leave, and simply because someone who did not like him had power at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I wrote a letter to the French authorities asking that he stay.
I read a quote from Jean Yoyotte in Le Monde to the effect that to change the director of the IFAO was a criminal act, sponsored by the mafia. Yoyotte is a great professor of Egyptology, one of the top scholars in France. Like many others, he believes that Mathieu has done a great job as IFAO director. He believes that what has happened is very sad. He was not afraid to state publicly that he believed Nicolas Grimal was behind this reprehensible action. Perhaps he was jealous of Mathieu, but I cannot believe that anyone would deliberately hurt their own country. No one can forget Grimal's behaviour at Grenoble, where he publicly supported a project proposal offered by amateurs that would damage the Great Pyramid at Giza, thus going directly against scholarly ethics and the rules of the SCA. Grimal has said he was going to get rid of Mathieu and then get rid of me. He was finally able to get rid of Mathieu, and now the newspapers in France are saying that it is the action of the mafia. I am now waiting for him to get rid of me!