Saturday, January 25, 2014

Cashing In

Hollywood is not the only one seeking to cash in on the new "Monuments Men" movie.  Not surprisingly, anti-collecting academics are seeking to do the same thing, though the parallels between looting of archaeological sites and Nazi state sponsored confiscations are not very close in CPO's opinion.   Indeed, a far closer parallel is the Iraqi State's confiscation of Iraqi-Jewish artifacts.  Yet, the issue of the repatriation of artifacts stolen from Iraqi Jews back to the country that expropriated them receives no notice from these same groups.  Hypocrisy?  Perhaps.  More evidence, if any is needed, that it's more about control than conservation?  Definitely.


Cultural Property Observer said...

Arthur Houghton asked me to post this:

"Peter, you raise a difficult issue. One one hand it is clear as a bell that confiscated Jewish property in Iraq must remain with the Jewish community and never be seen as the legitimate property of the Iraqi state. To go a little further, one should be disturbed by the fact that some of the most important artifacts in the Near East rest in Syria, which is convulsed by civil war, and are at risk of being looted and destroyed or sold onward to rapacious markets in the Gulf or China. Of particular concern is are the incredibly important paintings of the great Synagogue of Dura Europos, which when I last saw them had a room of their own in the depths of the Damascus Museum. I must tell you, I have discovered some interest in a possible NATO action to rescue these. It would take a very fast operation with limited forces and the technical ability to remove them from the walls, package them properly and then take them out, but I understand this capability exists. Perhaps this is a subject for another, quiet verbal discussion, but I did not want you to lose hope that nothing can be done.

Warm regards,


Cultural Property Observer said...

Seal Team Six meets Monuments Men. I like it. Will you be writing the script?