Thursday 15 January 2015

Cultural guardian confronts the looters

Chris Havergal. 'Cultural guardian confronts the looters' Times Higher Education 15 January 2015
 "Donna Yates is tackling the illicit trade in antiquities [...] “The places I tend to work are very poor, where people are in difficult situations based on their race, religion or systematic inequality,” says Yates. “I see the illicit trade in antiquities as being evidence of this inequality and as maintaining it. “It’s a situation in which extremely rich and wealthy white people take complete advantage of people who can’t fight back, and then blame them for it. I see it as double victimisation – these people are not only having their property taken from them, they are having their ability to construct their own identities taken from them by people who have all this power, who don’t even consider it to be a problem”.
Sadly not even the THE can break away from the tired Lara Croft/Indiana Jones clichés. Still, a good piece all the same. The role of well-informed public opinion is presented as having a key importance. Dr Yates believes that the market for illicit antiquities can be eliminated:

by not accepting the illicit collecting of antiquities as something that just happens, but by condemning those who deal and collect such items as "monsters".

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