The case of the missing culture', The Intelligencer Sunday, July 6, 2014
The diggers may get a crust of bread for their trouble, but the real money is made by groups like ISIS, through the black market or with the help of lackadaisical auction houses catering to the rich and unscrupulous. Partly from this trade, ISIS is said to be the richest terror outfit on the planet.[...] The situation in Iraq is particularly heart-wrenching, not just from the suffering of its people but from the enormous disruption of its past, present and future.[...] If its material remains are rooted up wholesale, no one can study them intelligently. If they’re looted and sold to finance terror, it’s the murder of culture, as well as human beings [...] One way or another, private collectors with unlimited means snap them up. Out of context, these antiquities are demoted to pricey baubles. [...]Vignette: Self-centred, the magpie.