Thursday, 6 November 2014

George Richards versus Pushy 'Russia Today' Journalist on Syrian conflict antiquities

On several counts, this is a pretty amazing interview on Syrian conflict antiquities (RT's Worlds Apart).  Oksana Boyko is a somewhat, 'controversial' journalist, known for precisely what she exhibits here, an attempt to entrap her interviewee and put words into his mouth. Her object-centred approach here is irritating: "Is looting the best hope for preserving antiquities in times of conflict?"

But this time she more than met her match by inviting an ethnographer - the inimitable George Richards (University of Edinburgh, Institute of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies), and Senior Fellow at Iraq Heritage* to discuss the issues. The effect is amazing. Richards cuts a very dignified figure, and gracefully and in a measured and very precise way presents his points, cutting through her loaded questions. It was good to hear an ethnographer here and bringing up the side which has so often been omitted, the destruction of intangible cultural values.
Video posted on You Tube by 'Russia Today'.

Russia has its own agenda in Syria, it seems using the antiquities issue to discredit 'The West' is one of the lines they are following (note the all-too-clear reference to Iraq 2003).

* Historical Buildings, Religious Shrines and Monuments Commission for Iraq.

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