Tuesday 6 December 2011

The answer to Collectors' Prayers? Greek Debt Crisis Hits Culture Sector

US collectors are reportedly praying for the collapse of the cultural sectors of European countries like Greece which they perceive as an enemy to be opposed. It seems that their prayers are being answered all over the world, as archaeological units close in the UK and Greece has had to lay off 2000 cultural sector staff in recent years too. Where will this all end? In the triumph of no-questions-asked collecting of dugup ancient bric a brac? Or the defeat of all who truly care about culture?

The situation in Greece is described in a Reuters article by Gareth Jones ('Debt crisis strikes Greek monuments, irks tourists', Dec 6, 2011) ), which will no doubt have "cultural property observers" in US collecting circles rubbing their greedy hands in glee and trumpeting: "we told you the ["corrupt" and "irresponsible" sic] Greeks cannot look after their heritage, so give the best bits to us to look after". The rest of us can only shake our heads in disbelief at their blatantly self-centred philistinism and despair, for the cultural sector has always been poorly-resourced and exposed to every twist and turn of the political situation and things do not seem set to improve in the near future.

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