Tuesday 16 December 2014

Debunk, Debunk, but the Looting Goes On

Grumpy cat 'pathetic'
Sam Hardy posted on his blog a summary of his recent denouement in stark detail of the modus operandi of the antiquities trade lobbyists ('Antiquities trade responds to exposure of false debunking with more false debunking'). Old Man Sayles the coiney ('wgsant', December 13, 2014 at 5:54 pm) struck out in anger:
What a pathetic waffeling response. One might [chip on the shoulder PMB] expect more from a professional researcher. Are your cited claims true or are they not? If not, why did you cite them?
Sam did not dignify that cantankerous outburst with a response. My reply:
What, ever, is the "truth" about the antiquities trade, Mr Sayles? Your truth, that of the Iraqi authorities actually on the ground? That of Ms Kampmann or Mr Tompa using selected secondary sources in distant lands to "debunk" what people on the ground (not "archaeologists", not Sam Hardy) have said? What 'facts' can you or I establish on this no-questions-asked and secretive market in general, and the path of Syrian conflict antiquities onto the market in particular?

Your acerbic comments are uncalled for. It is not without reason that Sam has become widely regarded as a careful analyst and insightful reporter on the matters under discussion here. You can see it in what he writes - if you care to actually look. That is more than anyone can say about any of the representatives of the antiquities trade at the moment who are concerned mainly to deny everything, misrepresnt the views of their opponents or throw mud and insults, rather than actually make a proper contribution to the heritage debate.

As of course the cynical manipulators among the trade lobby will know full well, the "36 million" is a straw man argument constructed by the trade lobby. "How much" this or that militia leader earns is beside the main issue, which is that sites and monuments are being trashed and conflict antiquities are being smuggled out of the region while you and your kind sit back arguing against taking immediate and decisive action to do what we can to deal with this crisis.

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