Friday, 24 October 2014

Director Sayles in Denial and Losses his Reading Glasses

"Those responsible for this sort of baseless 
vilification are really little better than the looters
they decry. Their agenda-driven ideological fervor

is as irrational as it is fanatical".
("Terrorists the lot of them" ACCG).

Anti-academic ACCG Director Wayne seems not to have asked ACCG Director Doris to bring his reading glasses before tapping away at his keyboard berating "scholars" (Friday, October 24, 2014 "...the scholars said"). He detects a conspiracy theory "in a so-called news report on "RT News"...". He denies everything, according to his use of scare quotes he does not believe that Mustafa is Mustafa, he does not believe he's Syrian, being filmed in Lebanon and does not believe that he's carrying any real antiquities. The female journalist probably is not a real blonde either. While I am no fan these days of Putin's mouthpiece media, I rather think Sayles confuses a news story with a detailed presentation of evidence (ACCG Director sidekick Tompa does the same in an equally tendentious post called "propoganda") . According to Sayles' conspiracy theory, there is no looting going on, no sales of smuggled items in Lebanon. This is all made up Mr Sayles suggests to discredit dealers like himself.
The claims seem intended mainly to bolster a recent open letter from more than 80 "prominent scholars" calling for a U.N. ban on the trade of Syrian antiquities—hardly coincidental.
Rather a narrow and self-centred interpretation of events. Perhaps Sayles might like to look a bit outside his blinkered box, and consider whether an additional reason in this case is related to Moscow's reaction to current US ambitions in Syria and Iraq (and also the potential long-term effects of militia rule in the Near East for the Russian federation). Sayles seems first to be in doubt about the authenticity of most of the artefacts shown ("purportedly ancient uncleaned coins") but then in a moment changes his mind and admits the bulk are "typical low grade surface finds from the region, [...] of very little interest or value to either collectors or archaeologists". Again we see the narrow object-centric approach of the collector. Their grade and "interest to collectors" is immaterial to the effects of digging them out of a stratified site, especially if mechanical excavators are being used. It seems Sayles was snoozing in bed when I published my thoughts about the coins that were shown to the camera. It is good to see we are in agreement about what they are, if not what they are doing on the film.
The article quotes the supposed looter as saying "these antiquities smuggled from Syria now form up to 50 percent of the European markets." That is a preposterous statement and not something that any responsible journalist or editor would endorse in print.
I suggest he now read the article properly, with his reading glasses on and try to work out who says what. It is not the looter that is quoted, but the collector-dealer who'd been selling the stuff on to dealers precisely from the EU.
the whole article reminds one of the yellow journalism of years gone by and appears now as a very thinly veiled attempt to criminalize the collecting of ancient coins and portable antiquities.
But, it is indeed illegal in the form in which we see it here, would Director Sayles, with or without his reading glasses, not agree? Ask Director Doris to explain it to you.

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