Sunday 26 February 2012

Illicit South American Antiquities being sold on support Oxfam?

Blogger 'Grotesque Stone Idols' (Donna Yates) the owner of the wonderful "Property of an Anonymous Swiss Collector" blog has a post on "Illicit South American Antiquities being sold on support Oxfam?!". She has found South American antiquities being sold on eBay and the description says:

"A part of the proceeds from this auction will be donated to Oxfam America and funds will go toward helping the people suffering in East Africa. Please check out my other auctions for quality Ancient art."

You have got to be kidding me! But, yes, it is true. Note the official Oxfam "Ebay giving" deal at the top. So there you have it, for Oxfam to help "people suffering in East Africa" one has to try and forget the terribleness of the antiquities trade in South America, especially in relation to poor and Indigenous communities. For an organization that has a primary goal of finding lasting solutions to poverty-related injustice, they appear to be supporting poverty-related injustice in South America. Oxfam's brand is right there ON an illegal online antiquity sale.
She has emailed Oxfam America about this and asks us all to do the same:
Here is their contact info. They probably have no idea that this is going on, but if they are going to launch campaigns like this one through ebay they need to be more careful about where their money is coming from.
The same goes for any kind of commercial artefact hunting "for charity". Of course the middlemen who purchased the antiquities from the diggers and the smugglers who then sold them on already have their money, and I think it is a fair bet that very little of that went to poverty relief. I expect its a very lucrative business.

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