Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Terror on the Plane…Joy Upon Arrival | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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When the beautiful sarcophagus of Prince Imesy was exhibited at the press conference arranged by the National Geographic Society, it blew the Arab and non-Arab press away with its magnificence and radiant colors, all of which alludes to the significance of this man. At the conference, I spoke about the importance of returning this stolen artifact to its country and the importance of urging states and nations not to accept stolen antiquities in the hope of draining the popular market of this illicit trade. You cannot imagine how happy I am about the return of this handsome Pharoanic prince inside the beautiful sarcophagus that left Egypt under mysterious circumstances over 80 years ago!

The day after the press conference the officials at the National Geographic Society carefully wrapped up the sarcophagus to [give it] the highest level of protection and it was transferred in a special vehicle to New York City. As soon as we got to JFK International Airport the director of the terminal informed me that my dear friend Lieutenant General Ahmed Shafiq issued orders that Prince Imesy travel free in a special separate compartment on an Egypt Air flight away from prying eyes. What made me very happy was that I knew that the orders were made for the prince to receive a royal reception upon arrival at Cairo Airport.

As soon as I got on the plane and sat down in my seat I saw an American family sitting near me on the other side. The couple knew who I was and said they always watched me on the Discovery Channel and National Geographic Channel and my last documentary on archaeological discoveries was the film shown on Discovery about the family of Tutankhamen. The woman asked me why I visited the US so I told her the story of Prince Imesy and his magnificent sarcophagus. She then asked me whether it would be taken back to Egypt or if it had already been returned. I laughed and I told her that the sarcophagus was also on the plane; her face changed and she looked perturbed. She began to tremble and said: “Oh my God, the plane is going to crash and we’re going to be struck by the curse of this Pharoanic prince!” She shouted at her husband: “We need to get off this plane now! Don’t you know why the Titanic sunk? The mummy of a Pharoanic princess was being shipped from one of Ireland’s ports!”

I felt that the situation was going to get worse especially as some passengers began to listen in on the conversation. The women’s poor husband looked at me as if pleading for me to do something to help the situation so I said to the woman: “Firstly, there is no mummy inside the sarcophagus and secondly the curse cannot strike this plane specifically because it is carrying the sarcophagus back to its country, which is contrary to the planes and ships that were stealing artifacts and smuggling them out of the country. Those planes and ships are the ones that were cursed.” I smiled on the inside as I said these words and the woman really did believe me and I had convinced her and she seemed happy as soon as I told her that the souls of the pharaohs are flying over the plane, happy that the Pharoanic prince is returning to his homeland. In the end the woman was very pleased as she listened to these words.

The ten hours it took to get from New York to Cairo passed quickly and the woman thanked God upon arrival and was thankful there were no problems during the flight. [At Cairo Airport] I saw the couple coming towards me and they said that they would always remember this trip and how they traveled to Egypt with the sarcophagus of a Pharoanic prince.

At the airport journalists and media representatives were waiting for us with cameras and microphones and everybody was asking: “How is Prince Imesy?”