How did the remains come up for sale? Who sold the remains? Who loots and sells and profits from this? It’s not always foreign museums who take artefacts from the ground. Often it’s local looters, robbers and criminals exploiting their heritage as just another resource. Even if we acknowledge the poverty that underlies this, these things don’t happen in a vacuum. It’s an easy narrative to vilify museums and scientists, but in order to buy, there has to be a seller. Corrupt officials look the other way. Sites are destroyed so that no-one gets to celebrate the heritage of humanity. By all means make scientific study transparent and accountable, but look at the whole process from beginning to end. Good people in all countries want to do the right thing, but it needs to be examined as a whole in order to be fixed.
One may have a moral right to artifacts but unless that moral right is backed up by an army it may be almost meaningless.
Western institutions and individuals are the greatest culprits of cultural looting. Go to any western museum they are all filled with STOLEN artefacts that belong elsewhere. Go to the Museum at Buckingham palace, it screams “We looted these and we are proudly displaying the loot”. The same with British Museums, French, German, American, Dutch – you name it.
The west is in effect declaring that looting rape and murder is a special right of teh west.
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