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Zahi Hawass releases a documentary on “The Real Cleopatra” in response to Netflix’s controversial work


Prominent Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass announced on Wednesday the release of a documentary about Cleopatra, coinciding with the launch of a similar work on “Netflix”, which sparked widespread controversy in Egypt due to the embodiment of a dark-skinned actress as the character of the Pharaonic queen.

The hour-and-a-half documentary, directed by Curtis Ryan Woodside on YouTube, was described as telling the story of “the real Cleopatra”, after Netflix’s choice to assign the role of the pharaonic queen to a black actress sparked widespread criticism in Egypt in recent weeks.

The production of this work came in response to a movie that Netflix will launch on Wednesday, entitled “Queen Cleopatra”, produced by Jada Pinkett Smith and presented as “based on reconstruction (characters and events) and expert testimonies.”

Hawass comments in the documentary, “Was Cleopatra black? First of all, I have nothing against black people at all, but I mention the facts.”

“Look at the Macedonian queens, none of them were black.”

Last month, the Supreme Council of Antiquities published a lengthy statement in which experts stressed that Cleopatra had “light skin and Hellenistic (Greek) features.”

The council added that “the antiquities and statues of Queen Cleopatra are the best evidence,” and the council’s secretary-general, Mostafa Waziri, confirmed that “the appearance of the heroine in this form is a falsification of Egyptian history.”

Many Internet users in Egypt considered that Netflix’s work constitutes a rewriting of history, while an online petition entitled “Stop the Cleopatra Documentary on Netflix due to historical falsification” has collected more than 40,000 signatures.

In a country that witnesses repeated calls to ban “Netflix” due to content deemed offensive to Egypt or its “family values,” parliamentarians called on the authorities to ban the platform.

Cleopatra belongs to the Macedonian dynasty, and she is a descendant of General Ptolemy, who, during the division of Alexander the Great’s empire, became the king of Egypt, who saw Hellenistic civilization flourish on the banks of the Nile.

And while the accounts transmitted throughout history say that the queen, who was born in the year 69 BC, was of great beauty, her appearance and skin color remain a source of speculation and interpretation.

In 2009, a documentary film broadcast by the British “BBC” network stated that African blood was running in its veins, but without causing controversy.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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