ReturnTheStone.org is a pro-active global grassroots campaign that was launched in October of 2001 to morally compel the return of the world’s most famous looted artifact – the Rosetta Stone – to Egypt, the country from which it was stolen. This campaign is embedded within the wider movement to morally pressure governments around the world to immediately return looted and stolen artifacts to their rightful owners. ReturnTheStone.org is NOT affiliated with any government or institution.

وحملة ReturnTheStone.org and the “العالمي لإعادة حجر رشيد إلى مصر،” were created by John Navarre, an American who has been a champion for the country and people of Egypt for over two decades. John is the creator of EgyptTravelBlog.com, the host of The Egypt Travel Podcast and The Egypt History and Culture Podcast, the creator and producer of The Egypt Travel Channel on YouTube, and is a passionate advocate for promoting travel to Egypt. He is also the owner and creator of the primary informational website for the new Grand Egyptian Museum at www.GrandEgyptianMuseum.org. John currently splits his time between Egypt, Spain, and the United States.

The famous American abolitionist, Frederick Douglas, once said, “When I ran away from slavery, it was for myself; when I advocated emancipation, it was for my people; but when I stood up for the rights of women, self was out of the question, and I found a little nobility in the act.” Serious large-scale social and political movements often require the active support and participation of more than just those who are affected by the issue. They require a broad base of support from a wide network of friends, allies, and supporters who are not directly affected by the issue as well.

حكومة مصر وشعبها بيطالبوا من عقود بإعادة حجر رشيد، لكن الحكومة البريطانية والمتحف البريطاني تجاهلوا المطالب دي بكل بساطة، وبينما ممكن للحكومة البريطانية إنها تتجاهل مطالب دولة وشعبها دون أي عواقب، مش ممكن تتجاهل مطالب بقية العالم، لما يجتمع كامل المجتمع الدولي أخيرا للمطالبة بالعدالة لمصر وللشعب المصري.

By itself, Egypt as a country is limited in the pressure that it is able to exert on a country like the United Kingdom. The government of Egypt has a great political relationship with the UK, and the country’s economy is heavily dependent on tourism from Western countries such as the UK. As a result, it would be much more damaging to Egypt and Egyptians themselves for them to engage in significant pressure and protest actions against British entities and institutions, such as coordinated boycotts or persistent public shaming. However, the rest of the world can certainly speak out and put pressure on the British government without fear of such consequences.

Egyptians should not be expected to stand alone against the remnants of colonial-era imperialism. It is also the responsibility of all non-Egyptians — especially those of us in the West — to stand up, speak out, and help lead the charge against the British government’s continued illegal, illogical, and immoral retention of the world’s most famous looted artifact — the Rosetta Stone.

تاريخ حجر رشيد موثق بشكل جيد جدا، والمتحف البريطاني وال الحكومة البريطانية لا ينكرون حتى إن الحجر مسلوب من مصر خلال الفترات الاستعمارية كغنيمة مسلوبة في الحرب، وبدل من كدا تم تغيير سبب عدم إعادة الحجر على مدار الزمن، ولكن العذر الحالي بيتمركز حول جدالهم بأنه مكنش مفروض عليهم إعادة فتح وإعادة الادعاء "التخاصم" على أخطاء تم ارتكابها خلال الفترات الاستعمارية على العكس من الحالات اللي بتحصل خلال الوقت الحالي.

تفقد الصفحة دي معلومات عن حجر رشيد, for a factual history of the artifact, including its creation and original purpose during the Ptolemaic era, its accidental rediscovery in 1799, how it made its way to England by 1802, and why it is widely considered to be one of the most famous and important surviving artifacts in the history of Egypt — and the world.

برضو ممكن تستمع للحلقة دي من بودكاست Egypt History & Culture Podcast عشان تتعلم أكثر حول حجر رشيد وقصة تمكنهم من فك رموزه أخيرا.

The British Museum remains conspicuously silent about the Rosetta Stone, despite the fact that it has a dedicated section on the press and media page of its website called الأغراض المتنازع عليها ضمن المجموعة.” Strangely, this section only addresses the Benin Bronzes, human remains, the Maqdala collection from Ethiopia, the Parthenon Sculptures (also known as the Elgin Marbles), a single wooden Aboriginal shield from Australia, and a final category that the museum ambiguously calls “1933–45 provenance,” which is a term the museum uses to refer to art and artifacts stolen by the Nazis during World War II, including from victims of the Holocaust. Astonishingly absent from this list, however, is any reference to Egyptian artifacts including the world’s most famous looted artifact — the Rosetta Stone.

لازم يكون التصرف الأخير بحجر رشيد راجع لحكومة مصر وشعبها، مش لحكومة وشعب دولة سرقت الأثر خلال الفترة الاستعمارية ورافضة حالياً إعادته لصاحبه. وإذا حبت مصر إنها تعير حجر رشيد مرة تانية للمتحف البريطاني أو أي مؤسسة تانية، لأن القرار ده هو الحق غير المشروط و الامتياز اللي تتمتع به الحكومة المصرية، وممكن مصر تُفضل عرض الحجر في متحفها الجديد واللي بلغت تكلفته مليار دولار، المتحف المصري الكبير، أو يمكن تُفضل عرض حجر رشيد في متحف اللوفر في باريس، أو "مؤسسة" السميثسونيان في الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية، أو متحف طوكيو الوطني في اليابان، أو المتحف الوطني الكوري، أو كل ما سبق ذكره لتعزيز السياحة إلى مصر من تلك الدول والمناطق الأخرى. بغض النظر، فقرار مكان تواجد حجر رشيد – سواء كان بشكل مؤقت أو دائم – ينبغي أن يكون راجع إلى مصر، وليس لأي أحد غير مصر.

هل هيكون أمر أخلاقي أو صحيح أو عادل، لو قام شخص ما بسرقة شيء منك ثم عرض إعارته لك بينما هتكون شروط العقد من وضعه هو، ويحتفظ هو بملكية ذلك الغرض "الشيء"؟ بالتأكيد لا، وعلى نحو مماثل فالشيء العادل واألخالقي اللي ممكن للحكومة البريطانية والمتحف البريطاني القيام به هو إعادة حجر رشيد بشكل غير مشروط إلى مصر، ويكون أفضل لو مصحوب باعتذار صادق عن عدم إعادة الحجر من زمن طويل، وترك الحكومة المصرية تقرر اللي عاوزة تعمله بملكيتها القانونية الخاصة.

Yes. In fact, the title of the policy document is called “Acquisition of Objects for the Collection,” a copy of which can be found here on the British Museum’s website.

ويفيد الجزء 2.1 من السياسة بوضوح، أنه:

“Objects will only be acquired for the Collection if:
(i) they are legally available for acquisition; and…
(ii) there is no reasonable cause to believe that they were wrongfully taken from a lawful owner; looted from archaeological sites or museums; or wrongfully exported or imported.”|

 

Legally within the United Kingdom, the British Museum’s operations and the actions of its Trustees are currently governed by the British Museum Act 1963, a copy of which is available on the British government’s website here.

Section 5 of the Act, entitled “Disposal of objects,” states:

“The Trustees of the British Museum may sell, exchange, give away, or otherwise dispose of any object vested in them and comprised in their collection if -…
(c) in the opinion of the Trustees the object is unfit to be retained in the collections of the Museum and can be disposed of without detriment to the interests of students…”

Given this section of the Act, the British Museum’s Board of Trustees could easily pass a resolution stating something like this:

“It is the opinion of the Trustees that it is unfit to retain in the collection of the Museum an artifact of incalculable historical and cultural significance to another country and people, which was illegally looted from that country and illegally placed into the Museum’s collection, the retention of which runs explicitly counter to the Museum’s own Policy on Acquisition of Objects for the Collection, the Code of Ethics of the International Council of Museums, and the Code of Ethics of the Museums Association.”

With such a resolution, which is morally and historically justified, the museum would be legally authorized by the Act to “give away or otherwise dispose of” the Rosetta Stone by immediately transferring it to the government of Egypt via the Egyptian Embassy in London.

Do you want to support the campaign to return the world's most famous looted artifact?

There are four immediate ways that you can help the global campaign to return the Rosetta Stone to Egypt.
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