Friday, 15 May 2015

Sabre-rattling and Reason

Over in the US, in response to the news that the romantic ruins of Palmyra will soon be in ISIL hands, we see more empty talk among dug-up antiquities dealers and their lobbyists about the cost that "anyone who seeks to destroy its ruins" should pay. Such commentators omit to note that between ISIL and those pretty picture-postcard ruins is a modern town with people living in it. I'd be more concerned about keeping them safe.

Over here in Europe, we prefer less of the empty sabre-rattling "world policemen" talk and urge British MPs that the UK needs to ratify the 1954 Hague Convention. We really have no grounds for criticising anyone else for violating its principles when we've not signed it ourselves. Poland ratified it in 1956, even the USA has (2009). Yet more evidence of a lack of commitment of Britain to actually do anything concrete to look after any heritage they can't make tourist money from.

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