Au premier étage, nous montons voir Abbas K. Abbas, patron du département de recherche des antiquités disparues. Le sympathique quinquagénaire moustachu ne cache pas son désarroi. Il est chargé de scanner la presse mondiale et le maximum de catalogues des salles d'enchères pour essayer de repérer les ventes d'objets volés dans son pays. Pour effectuer ce travail de titan, il a trois employés (un seul lit l'anglais), deux ordinateurs antédiluviens et "pas de budget" pour se rendre sur le lieu d'une vente suspecte.The Iraqi government should be funding this (as they should be funding the antiquities police), of course, and it is just one more sign of the government's negligence, incompetence, or perhaps corruption with regard to its own cultural patrimony. But in the case of the museum, the largest source of funding in the past few years was not the Iraqi government but the Bush administration's last-minute $17 million. Presumably those delivering the money were also helping the museum officials figure out how to use it best. One can only wonder why it is that so little of that funding was allocated to Abbas' department that he cannot afford even up-to-date computers, much less to fly to London or New York to examine artifacts that may be showing up at Christie's or Sotheby's.
The British Antiquities Trade as seen by Gulf Cartoonist - Gulf cartoonist Mohammad-Ali Khalaji's representation of London art market role in fuelling antiquities trafficking.
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