Saturday, June 6, 2015
Tariq Aziz Dies
Tariq Aziz, Saddam Hussein's point man in efforts to end international sanctions put in place in response to Iraq's unsuccessful invasion of Kuwait, has died in prison. As Larry Rothfield notes, archaeological groups actively worked with Aziz in an effort to undermine those sanctions by travelling to Iraq in hopes of getting back to the business of digging. Yet, unfortunately the relationship between archaeology and dictatorship has yet to be studied in any great depth. This is a pity. In CPO's view, the "state owns everything old " approach promoted by Middle Eastern dictatorships inexorably leads to a "trash the past" mentality by those who then associate antiquities with hated dictatorial regimes.
Posted by Cultural Property Observer at 1:45 PM
Labels: archaeological lobby, Dictators, Saddam
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)
The relationship between archaeology and murderous dictators is an old and shameful one.
What took place under Mussolini's Fascist regime was in many respects similar to what has occurred more recently. A good discussion of the Fascist "Romanita" may be found in
Studia Antiqua et Archaeologica XVIII, 2012, 351-375: ARCHAEOLOGY, ARCHITECTURE AND THE USE OF ROMANITÀ IN FASCIST ITALY by Cristian Olariu. "Archaeology Under Dictatorship" by Michael L. Galaty and Charles Watkinson (May 2, 2006) contains an excellent discussion of Fascist Italian archaeology, which extended beyond the limits of italy to include some former Roman provinces (e.g. modern Albania).
"The relationship between archaeology and murderous dictators is an old and shameful one," Dave Welsh writes, and he's right on the money.
In more recent times an example of the shameful liaison between archaeology and State-approved thuggery exists. One of archaeology's more undistinguished holier-than-thou buffoons, hot-footed it from democracy to work for a former Warsaw Bloc regime; one where State-sponsored murder, torture and imprisonment without trial went hand in blouse with State corruption and favoritism towards toadying functionaries.
Soviet style propaganda infiltrated many of the UK's Left-leaning organisations: The Council for British Archaeology's 1980's anti-metal detecting STOP Campaign serves as a typical example where detectorists were likened to a grotesque cartoon figure that could have been lifted from anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda. It was an absolutely vile depiction, and many felt that the CBA's Patron, the Prince of Wales and Heir to the Throne, gave this disgraceful campaign his tacit approval.
For the Prince to have been even remotely involved, raised more than a few eyebrows in that he apparently supported an attack on thousands of his future subjects. Even today, there are some who if given the chance to meet the Prince would refuse to shake the Royal hand - and I am one.
"The relationship between archaeology and murderous dictators is an old and shameful one,",
how about this line.
"The relationship between the USA and murderous dictators is an old and shameful one,"
i do wish all of you would stop this nonsense talk especially when governments we have all voted for have had "relationships" with some of the vilest dictators the earth has ever seen.
john,i hope your not suggesting our future king is a "secret commie"your not one for forgiving and forgetting are you.personally i never hold a grudge against anyone and certainly wouldnt consider offending the future king by refusing to shake his hand,if i ever had the pleasure of meeting him.
"One of archaeology's more undistinguished holier-than-thou buffoons, [who] hot-footed it from democracy to work for a former Warsaw Bloc regime" apparently did not like my comment regarding the historical relationship between archaeology and murderous dictators.
I find it ironic that archaeologists take such a sanctimonious moralizing stance regarding antiquities collecting, when their own discipline has repeatedly shown absolutely no moral consciousness in its eager willingness to cooperate with dictators whose hands were reeking with the blood of their own citizens, and often also the blood of citizens of their neighbors.
The individual described above has never disclosed what he presently does for a living. It is clearly not his blogging activities. Could it perhaps be possible that there is still some employment or business relationship with one or more organizations associated with former Communist regimes?
Kyri, good point, the US has supported dictatorships and will continue to do so where it appars it in the national interest. Still, given the archaelogical lobby's holier than thou attitude, the link is a subject that deserves some study. Let's keep in mind that collectors have been accused by some members of this group of supporting terrorism.
In any event, the archaeological lobby's efforts to undermine sanctions against Saddam was part of a bigger effort from countries like China and Russia. The undermining of sanctions helped lead US and UK decision makers to war on the theory it was better to take down Saddam while he was still weak rather than having potentially to have to deal with him later at a time he would be stronger. And we all know the tragedy that has befallen Iraqi archaeology since.
I believe at some point Mr. Barford indicated he was a translator who does work for UNESCO. Still, I agree, he's a bit of a mystery. Most academics (or those who purport to be ones) make their CV available in places like academia.edu.
Permit me to remind you that the Greek government has in the past been guilty of actions relatively much worse than anything the USA has ever done, considering the limited capability of a small nation to cause international havoc.
The post-WWI Greek invasion of Turkey led to immense bloodshed, and lasting hatred between two peoples which, in my opinion, could probably have been peacefully reconciled otherwise. The entire history of ancient Greek civilization is filled with war and slaughter, in many cases horribly immoral by present day standards.
Alexander III of Macedon has been described as one of history's greatest mass murderers.
Permit me to observe that when others are discussing the moral conduct (or lack thereof) of certain individuals and organizations, it is neither relevant nor appropriate to interject negative comments about their governments. I wish you would stop doing that, because it makes you appear to be an unscrupulous political opponent of the governments in question, who takes advantage of every opportunity to portray them in a bad light.
If the USA had not intervened to prevent Greece from going Communist after WWII, I have no doubt that Greeks today would be far worse off.
What do you think the world would be like today if Franklin D. Roosevelt had pursued an isolationist policy and kept the US out of WWII?
"Most academics (or those who purport to be ones) make their CV available in places like academia.edu"
making ones CV available has not prevented respected academics like David gill or Nathan elkins from vitriolic abuse by certain contributors to this blog.after reading some comments to pauls blog and on other blogs by some metal detectors,threats of violence ect ,i dont blame mr barford for keeping his ID as secret as possible i would probably do the same.
Whether "our" future king is a "secret commie" I know not, nor do I much care. But for him to have fronted the vile and ill-fated STOP Campaign as the CBA's Patron without an apology, is to my mind unforgivable. I am deeply offended by him.
Neither am I a heritage thief, or looter. I once swore an Oath of Allegiance to his mother, our present Queen, but I cannot bring myself to do the same for him. Yes, I bear grudges though I am fair - I treat all those who insult me, and my legal pastime with equal contempt and that includes closet Barfordistas.
"The relationship between the USA and murderous dictators is an old and shameful one," you allege, and indeed, so was Greece's - for example - when the Colonels were in charge. Communism is a shameful sore on the flesh of decency and humanity and anyone giving succor to it deserves censure.
For Kyri, Gilll, Barford and Elkins have made their own beds so to speak by their own actions. If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen as they say. \ Anyway, there is civil discussion about these issues, but they are not involved. Gill and Elkins do have good academic backgrounds, so they at least should know better.
The reason for publicly disclosing one's CV is to establish credentials and to enable the public to judge one's knowledge and perspective.
Every advocate of collectors' rights has done this, and many of their backgrounds are very impressive.
I believe there is a good reason why Mr. Barford does not disclose his background. Perhaps that reason is that his readers would not find it to be impressive.
Keeping one's ID as secret as possible is not an issue for advocates of collectors' interests. I have said some hard things about Mr. Barford and his fellow travelers in my blog, and in comments to other venues. You can find my qualifications publicly disclosed on my website and on that of the ACCG. No one has ever threatened me, perhaps because my remarks were understandable.
I sometimes wonder whether Barford deliberately decided to take a leaf from van Rijn's book, with the idea that notoriety would maximize his readership. He has certainly aroused a lot of cordial hate by his outrageous utterances and incessant slanging.
"Permit me to observe that when others are discussing the moral conduct (or lack thereof) of certain individuals and organizations, it is neither relevant nor appropriate to interject negative comments about their governments. I wish you would stop doing that, because it makes you appear to be an unscrupulous political opponent of the governments in question, who takes advantage of every opportunity to portray them in a bad light"
and that is something you dont do dave!!!thats probably the most hypocritical sentence you have written in your life.
look i love the USA,i was just stating a fact,the USA has had dealings with many dictators including installing the greek colonels in greece and financing the EOKA B coup against makarios in cyprus in 1974,not to mention the countless south american dictators.as for roosevelt taking the US into WW2 where was the US in 1940 when greece and the uk were the only countrys brave enough to face down the nazi threat.if im not mistaken germany declared war on the US first and we in the uk actually declared war on japan before you did.do you know that greece was the only country in europe where the nazi collaborators,instead of being imprisoned were armed and given a mandate to take over the country which they did by force.read this piece it is an eye opener.
anyway,i think we are going a bit off topic as usual.
If, as you say, you really do love the USA, you should be aware that it is hard to believe that at times given your frequent observations which seem to be very critical of US conduct and policy. Also, you frequently seem to be very critical of comments I make regarding Mr. Barford.
>> "... when others are discussing the moral conduct (or lack thereof) of certain individuals and organizations, it is neither relevant nor appropriate to interject negative comments about their governments."
> "and that is something you dont do dave!!! thats probably the most hypocritical sentence you have written in your life."
?? If I have in fact done so, I would be glad to know (off list please) which remarks of mine inspired your comment. And if I have done so, does that make it acceptable for you to do it?
"as for roosevelt taking the US into WW2 where was the US in 1940 when greece and the uk were the only countrys brave enough to face down the nazi threat."
The UK declared war on Germany in 1939, confident in its alliance with France which it then mistakenly believed to have military strength sufficient to defend the Western front against Germany.
Greece had absolutely no desire to confront Germany. The only reason Hitler invaded Greece was to secure his southern flank, prior to invading Russia. He would have been much happier if the necessity for doing so, because of Mussolini's irresponsible military adventures, had not arisen. Organized Greek military resistance to the German invasion was brief and ineffective.
"... do you know that greece was the only country in europe where the nazi collaborators,instead of being imprisoned were armed and given a mandate to take over the country which they did by force."
That is an unjustified comment. I won't attempt to debate the ins and outs of postwar Greek politics, however the primary British and US concern was to prevent Greece from going the way of Yugoslavia. I am convinced that had they not done so, Greece would have been forcibly taken over by the Communist ELAS.
Wikipedia gives a very different picture from that in the leftist Observer article:
Where was the US in 1940?
Struggling to recover from the Great Depression, almost unarmed apart from its strong Navy, and politically very strongly opposed to any intervention in European wars. The US public had been disillusioned and disgusted by the Versailles treaty and its aftermath. It was then widely perceived that "the war to end all wars" had in fact been only the latest in the long list of European wars, and had ended in a cynical "power politics" division of the Old World that was antithetical to American idealism.
It seems to me that these forays off topic usually seem to originate in comments you make ...
"If I have in fact done so, I would be glad to know (off list please) which remarks of mine inspired your comment"
hi dave,i have lost count of the amount of times you have made "negative comments" about the italian,greek or egyption governments,do you really want me to list them all?
"If, as you say, you really do love the USA, you should be aware that it is hard to believe that at times given your frequent observations which seem to be very critical of US conduct and policy"
yes critical of its "conduct and policy" but not always.i do love the people and culture of the US,3 of my favourite actors of all time are clint eastwood,john wayne and charlton heston and i respect all of them as decent,upstanding citizens of the world but it doesnt mean i have to agree with their politics.in fact you have been much more vocal than me in condemning US policy than i have in the past even suggesting government officials should be "strung up along constitution avenue"
"Organized Greek military resistance to the German invasion was brief and ineffective"
germamn invasion of denmark took 6 hours,luxemburg,belgium and netherlands 6 days,france lasted about one month,greece was at war for over 8 months,it took the germans 5 weeks just to take crete,longer than it took to take most of europe.
the invasion of greece was the first occasion that the Germans encountered widespread resistance from a civilian population and there was resistance,with heavy reprisals for civilians,all through the war.
>>In more recent times an example of the shameful liaison between archaeology and State-approved thuggery exists. One of archaeology's more undistinguished holier-than-thou buffoons, hot-footed it from democracy to work for a former Warsaw Bloc regime; one where State-sponsored murder, torture and imprisonment without trial went hand in blouse with State corruption and favoritism towards toadying functionaries. <<
Mr Tompa, you approved this comment three weeks ago. Would you please now explain why? To whom does it refer, and on what basis are these accusations made? What liaison with "state approved thuggery" is inferred here? What evidence do you have that the person to whom you refer in a "moderated" (sic) comment on your blog "worked for" any "regime"? What is meant here? Why "hand in blouse"?
The problem is that I cannot help but think that your readers might infer that it is I who am depicted in such terms on your blog. Please will you clarify the situation and state what it is you think you have approved for publication here?
I think you need to address some of your questions to Mr. Howland; however, I also have heard that you worked for the Polish Communist regime. As I've noted elsewhere, if you put up your CV all these issues can be put to rest.
I'm closing comments to this blog post. Of course, I'll report separately on your CV if you decide to post it.
Post a Comment