Friday, 16 March 2012

Rosie and the Looters

For those, like me, who think this blog has been suffering from a surfeit of coineyism over the past few days, here's a (sort of a) good news story not involving round pieces of metal with pictures and writing on them. Rosie the rhino at Ipswich Museum has been given a new horn, after thieves stole the original last July. Rosie is part of my childhood, hours spent in Ipswich Museum enjoying myself looking at "stuff" while the parents spent hours doing more boring things in the town centre's shops. Rosie stood in the middle of the groundfloor gallery, still in its Edwardian layout with crowded cases of all sorts of wonders. OK, you are not allowed to, but in those days you could reach out an awed hand and gently and respectfully touch her, feel her skin, stroke the horn. I admit I did. The Museum's Edwardian splendour has gone now, but 105 year old Rosie remains (too big to go in a cupboard in a storeroom I guess), and that is where the thieves found her. They ripped off her horn and scuttled away into the night to sell it to some gangland ruffians, leaving the exhibit damaged and defiled, a broken symbol of today's greed and lack of respect for anything precious.
Rosie has been made whole again, and next time I am in England have promised myself to make a pilgrimage to Ipswich to see her, say hello. Perhaps I have to satisfy myself that the glass fibre replacement horn looks as good on her as they say. Convince myself the tragic story has an ersatz happy ending, that although revenge has not been exacted on the perpetrators of this dire deed, and the creeps that bought the horn and put it to whatever-use, Rosie's looking as good as ever, nothing has changed.

If only it were so easy to patch up the damage done to an archaeological site when looters rip out all those coi... artefacts to sell 'no-questions-asked' to those gangland ruffians that supply part of the market, peopled by creeps that buy artefacts to put to whatever-use, but the process leaving the sites damaged and defiled, a plundered symbol of today's greed and lack of respect for anything precious.

Photo: The wondrous Rosie in her 105th Birthday Party dress with her new horn (Photo: BBC).
Hat tip to David Gill who shared this news with me.

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