Thursday, January 10, 2008
/ incitation to plunder /
This is an outrageous piece of journalism from Time magazine in which the benefits of "investing in antiquities" are extolled, with no mention of the fact that the vast majority of such "assets" are the product of plunder, perpetrated by various smuggling gangs, at various times.
The article has the gall to begin by describing rather approvingly an auction of a Sumerian (?) artifact sold recently at Sotheby's, which - as Iraq is under colonial control (and obviously can't protect or demand back its cultural treasures) - is rather outrageous.
While it might indeed be true that "no matter how ornate a stock certificate might be, an Egyptian amulet is always going to look better in your living room display case", it's probably even more accurate to say that the amulet might look better in a museum in Cairo. And, as Digging Digitally suggests, the article doesn't even "hint at the larger external costs and widespread destruction that is part of this trade".
On the issue of post-colonial cultural plunder and antiquities trafficking from museums, Greekworks had a couple of interesting articles a couple of years ago, which are to the point and cutting in their critique.