Saturday 9 April 2011

Where does the Buck Stop?

A Californian dealer lets the violent side of his nature come out when talking about my blog post (below) about the Jordanian lorry driver caught on the Egyptian border with antiquities hidden in cheese. He writes:
Bravo! Apparently they [Egyptians] are quite capable of detecting smuggled antiquities, which is all that Mr. Barford is concerned with. I hope the miscreants involved face condign punishment - immolation at the stake is no longer fashionable, thus perhaps a long stay in a very unpleasant place of confinement whose filth befits the degraded state of their souls.
Confined together with those lost souls who buy them, eh? ("Two minute due diligence" anyone?) This is rich coming from the milieu which is actively campaigning to overturn US measures intended to curb dealers buying illegally exported artefacts. Note how he tries to put the blame for the presence of illegally obtained artefacts solely on the smugglers, and not those that make smuggling lucrative.

Of course it has not been shown that the lorry driver knew there were antiquities in the cheese loaded into his truck. The mention of the police in the original article does suggest this man may have been stopped as a result of a tip-off.

Also, as I have stated a number of times, I am not "only concerned" with catching the smugglers. It is QUITE clear that it is not they alone who are to blame, but the no-questions-asked market which allows them to profit from the activity. If there were no buyers for certain types of smuggled goods, the smugglers would stop smuggling them. The case is overwhelmingly clear that if we are to break the chain of illegal transactions involving antiquities, authorities should be investigating the whole chain of transactions, tracing the trail back to the suppliers and looters that supplied the smuggled goods, and the people to whom they were being sent whose money finances the whole sorry business.

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