Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Are You Going to Clean up Your Mess?

 Just over a year ago,Washington luminary Arthur Houghton III ('Head Shot to a Curator?' PACHI Saturday, 25 January 2014) set out  on the "Cultural Property Observer" blog (January 25, 2014 at 1:46 PM), his cunning plan to liberate artefacts from the hands of militants: "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". He apparently thinks some of them belong in America:
Corporal Edward Chin
and statue, Iraq 2003
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.
Yes, in this collectors' fantasy world, US cultural property buffs will get into a nice warm Washingtonian huddle and chat about how they are going to send in their brave boys to remove these items by force from the source country to avoid some foreign rebels selling them to the Yellows or Eyerabs. The last comment on the topic is the blog owner's own: "a: Seal Team Six meets Monuments Men. I like it".
Spoils of War 2003

Now the Iraqis are calling out for such a squad to come and help take threatened artefacts from the hands of ISIL, has Mr Houghton made any progress in building on that "interest"? Or has "interest" evaporated when it is time for the Americans to get back in there and tidy up the mess they left in Iraq in their disastrous gung-ho escapade of destruction twelve years ago which was an important factor which led to the current mess?  Or are the US  going to continue to stand on the sidelines wringing their hands and lamenting the destruction which they started but are now powerless to stop? Or does Washington know something about that "destruction" and looting that the rest of us are not being told?

Fragments of
smashed statue
for sale
Meanwhile of course, there is quite a bit of cultural property from Iraq already in the US, some of it is going back, but the US are keeping some of it for themselves.

They did not smash Lamassu

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