Saturday, April 09, 2011

Damage to Egypt’s antiquities cannot justifify refusal to repatriate items


A lot has been made in some news sources, of the amount of damage (or potential damage, because at the time that things like this are reported, it is often hard to make a full assessment) done to the collections of museums in Egypt during the recent protests there. Many sources then jump straight on to the next conclusion that this means that it is right to keep disputed Egyptian artefacts in the big museums of the West, despite the fact that even a year ago these riots could not be anticipated & that no one appointed certain big museums as official custodians of global culture.

Further to this, there is of course the fact that artefacts aren’t necessarily safe in any country.

One promising thing though, is that while some rioters were vandalising the museums, many more Egyptian citizens were making every effort they could to try & protect these places from damage.

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