Tuesday 9 December 2014

The Syrian Conflict Antiquities Dealers' Circus Continues

Looks like a Clown in a sewer
The clowning from the dealers' lobby continues, but its ability to amuse is rapidly failing. University of London researcher Sam Hardy ('Lobbyist Misleads on Islamic State Antiquities Trafficking', Hyperallergic, December 8, 2014)* attempts to summarise the tangle:
When Hyperallergic debunked antiquities trade representative Ursula Kampmann’s supposed debunking of intelligence on Islamic State antiquities trafficking, Cultural Property Observer (CPO) dealer and lobbyist Peter Tompa tried to debunk Hyperallergic in turn.
There is then a deconstruction of Tompa's activities on behalf of several dugup antiquities dealers' associations which is spot on. Hardy shows conclusively that Tompa's misleading statements and nasty snide attacks on researchers and reporters are emblematic of a longer, wider campaign against antiquities trade regulation. It is worth reading and checking the links in extenso to get a real picture of what the dugup dealers are up to, how they wish to deflect the discussion away from the need for the antiquities market to self-regulate or be regulated. Their activities are damaging to the very processes for which they declare support. Such declarations are empty, and is quite clear that all the dealers want is the freedom to carry on doing what they've always done - no matter how damaging others may think it is. As hardy summarises it:
Such interference disrupts professional analysis, misleads public understanding and thereby impedes the development and implementation of regulation that would protect both vulnerable communities from plunder and ethical collectors from being made complicit in plunder. Nonetheless, research continues.
Very little of it being done by the antiquities traders, content to stand on the sidelines and just sling mud at those trying to make sense out of what little evidence is emerging.

* Hardy's text was written some time ago, and the final paragraph refers to a "forthcoming" Die Zeit article which in the end failed to deliver its promise and should have been deleted by Hyperallergic's ediitors (S. Hardy pers. comm.).

See also 'Antiquities trade responds to exposure of false debunking with more false debunking' Conflict antiquities December 9, 2014

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