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Return of "looted arts" to their countries of origin

Reader comment on item: L'Institut d'Égypte – In Memoriam

Submitted by Ronald ng (Singapore), Dec 27, 2011 at 02:32

The attacks by fanatics on historical heritage are not limited ot Egypt or the Islamic World. Fanatics are fanatics, whether they are religious fanatics or not. Witness the destruction of books and works of arts in China during the Cultural Revolution by the fanaticism whipped up by Mao and the Gang of Four.

Having seen these acts of vandalism by fanatics, I have often argued against the return of "looted works of arts" to their countries of origin. Instead, as recompense for the "loots" the countries could or rather should give as gifts to the "victim" countries, their own works of arts, in case the table is turned. As a practical example, instead of returning the Elgin marbles to Greece, perhaps Britain, could give Greece some original Turners. Who knows, maybe some years down the road, should some catastrophe happen in England, men made or otherwise, and many of Turner's paintings are destroyed, some would be safely tucked away outside the country.

Similarly, instead of returning the Chinese treasures looted from the Summer Palace in China, the countries involved could donate some of their own pieces of art to China as recompense, and insurance against the wholesale destruction of those works should some catastrophe occur in those countries.

Submitting....

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Daniel Pipes replies:

Interesting concept.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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