Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Crying Wolf

UNESCO has issued an alarm that Libya's cultural heritage has become the target of looters and a Russian journalist is claiming that the Museum in Tripoli has been sacked and that NATO warplanes have bombed important cultural sites. See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/26/libyas-cultural-heritage-_n_938405.html and

Not so fast. In fact, the museum in Tripoli appears to be under rebel guard. See http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/aug/29/letter-from-tripoli And there have been no credible reports about either extensive looting of archaeological sites or attacks by NATO aircraft.

Indeed, to the extent Libya's cultural heritage has gone missing, isn't it more likely to have happened due to the sticky fingers of Libya's former ruler and his family?

Under the circumstances, perhaps we should not jump to conclusions.

Addendum: Andrew Lawler has also written an article, entitled "Claims of Mass Libyan Looting Rejected by Archaeologists," Science Magazine (Sept. 1, 2011). See http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2011/09/claims-of-mass-libyan-looting.html?ref=hp

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