Archive | November 14, 2012

The Return of Looted Antiquities

The Return of Looted Antiquities

By Hwaa Irfan

One of the key aspects that dominate the crises that we are going through is possession of material things. That obsession becomes apparent when there is war as in the case of Syria where like Iraq archaeological sites and museums of Syria have been looted, and even destroyed.

The Krak des Chevaliers castle has been destroyed

Assyrian temple has been destroyed at Tell Sheikh Hamad and the wall and towers of al-Madiq castle, one of the most forward Crusader fortresses in the Levant, have been ravaged. It is a different matter however when those possessions serves as record of history, or as sacred items to a past long forgotten or tradition still alive.

The situation is no less for Nigeria even after 52 years of an independence that has been more on paper than a reality.

Examples of Nigerian antiquities are visible in Berlin, Cambridge, Chicago, Columbia, Harvard, London, Oxford, Paris and Yale with Boston Museum making the most of its collection which it believes are to be shared by the world, of course without official Nigerian consent.

The arrogance continues with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, which treats the matter as normal by informing the Benin Royal Family which in turn the Benin Royal Family accepts as a fait-a-complie without response.  Why should they respond to an insult that involves items that were stolen in the 1897 British invasion of Nigeria. One example of “dare and do” is the travelling exhibition by the British Museum, “Ife, Osun State titled Kingdom of Ife: Sculptures from West Africa.”  It was said to be in collaboration with the questionable Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), the British Museum, Fundacion Marcelino Botin of Spain and the Museum of African Art, New York. Containing over 100 pieces if brass, copper, stone, terracotta and ivory from the NCMM.

Queen/Great Mother Mask of Idia

In that exhibition was the Queen Mask of Idia (British Museum), which was stolen from Nigeria by the British in what has been referred to as the Benin Kingdom Punitive Expedition of 1897

Members of the notorious British Punitive Expedition of 1897 with the aim of unseating the Oba of Benin

The pendant mask is carved in ivory and formed part of the Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, as a gift from Nelson A. Rockefeller in 1972.   With all the wealth and power of the Rockefellers, they still prefer to steal than pay their way even in their pastimes.

The Queen Mask of Idia came from the Benin Royal Court, and represents a period of Queen Mothers which ended with the ascent of male power by the end of the 15th century. It was a period when women were honoured, and were perceived to have great powers.  The Queen Mask of Idia is a real life image, of the first Queen Mother, and was even worn by kings in ceremony.

Beyond the superstitions, the Queens head represented not her physical head, but her inner mind, representing balance, patience and good countenance. The Queen or more accurately, the Great Mother represented all mothers, united by the flow of blood/menses; and all women represented patience and balance, qualities that men are to emulate in order to survive. The masks serve to dramatize the spiritual and more mystical nature of womanhood which is self-contained, but when angered like the Hindu Kali, seek revenge. Given the obsession of global governors with instruments of power, one wanders how much the perceived possession of such an item is what attracted them to it in the first instance as exampled by the novel-cum-film The Da Vinci Code.

In 1970, member countries adopted UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, but this did not stop the looting that has taken place in Iraq, Syria, and even Egypt during the January 25 2011 youth revolt.

A trickle of items have been returned however as in 2009, when Canada returned the 1,000 year old terracotta effigies, the three Ife bronze heads from the French L’Office central de repression du vol des oeuvres et des objets d’art, and Benin bronze artefacts from Zurich’s Galerie Walu.

List of Holders of Benin Bronzes
Berlin – Ethnologisches Museum 580.
Boston, – Museum of Fine Arts 28.
Chicago – Art Institute of Chicago 20, Field Museum 400
Cologne – Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum 73.
Glasgow _ Kelvingrove and St, Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life 22
Hamburg – Museum für Völkerkunde, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe 196
Dresden – Staatliches Museum für Völkerkunde 182
Leipzig – Museum für Völkerkunde 87
Leiden – Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde 98
London – British Museum 900
New York – Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art 163
Oxford – Pitt-Rivers Museum/ Pitt-Rivers country residence, Rushmore in Farnham/Dorset 327
Stuttgart – Linden Museum-Staatliches Museum für Völkerkunde 80
Vienna – Museum für Völkerkunde 167

The director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, argues:

“When you see these objects they will mean more to you in your own experience than they would in London or the place where they were made”

The trouble is, those artefacts were never created to provide an income for Museums, but to be used, and thereafter, to serve as a link to the past not as a record of history, but as a bridge from the material present, to the spiritual past.

The commemorative head of the Oba of Benin.

The request from the return of antiquities intensified summer 2012, with the planned 2013 Museum of Fine Arts exhibition, which contains 32 stolen items. Added to this insult, was the offer of a major collection held by Robert Lehman of the Lehman Bros that was instrumental in the domino effect of the global economic crisis. Amongst the artefacts offered are 34 pieces that were stolen from the Kingdom of Benin by the British as passed down by his great grandfather. Any items of power obviously has not yet kicked in with the Lehmans.
Yusuf Abdallah Usman, Director General of NCMM has published a formal request for the repatriation of the Benin Kingdom bronzes and ivories in possession of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. By July 2012, the Museum began to respond.

The repeated mantra that no official request has been made, ignoring the petition that was made by the Oba of Benin to the British Parliament, as noted and reproduced in Parliamentary records. Even prior to that, the Benin Royal Family sent a demand to museums for the return of artefacts, which has also not been acknowledged. Yet, with Hitler’s daughter as the Chancellor of Germany, the British Parliament has passed a law, Holocaust (Return of Cultural Objects) Act 2009 that enables owners of Nazi looted artworks now in public British museums and galleries not only to obtain compensation for the loss but to receive the looted object., The Act makes it very clear that it only applies to actions relating to Nazi seizures within a specific period.

Sources:

Agbetu, T. “Boston Museum Opens Dialogue Over Looted Benin Artefacts.” http://www.ligali.org/article.php?id=2306

“Idia: A Benin Legend” http://academics.smcvt.edu/africanart/arianne/idia.htm

Opoku, K. “Nigeria Must Demand the Return of Looted Antiques.” http://pambazuka.org/en/category/features/85248

Opoku, K. Blood Antiquities in Respectable Havens: Looted Benin Artefacts Donated to American Museum.” http://www.modernghana.com/news/405992/1/blood-antiquities-in-respectable-havens-looted-ben.html

Sowole, T. “Kingdom of Ife Reopens Debate on Restitution of Artefacts”  http://africanartswithtaj.blogspot.com/2012/05/kingdom-of-ife-reopens-debate-on.html

Related Topics:

Rujm el-Hirri: The Stonehenge of Syria

The Secret Iraqi Files

The Idols of Our Lives

Ordinary Women Doing the Impossible

The Menstrual Bloodline

Muslim Cordoba Going for a Song

Bulldozing Islamic Heritage

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Four Countries Asking for their Gold Reserves!

Four Countries Asking for their Gold Reserves!

 The rush to empty accounts by concerned Greek, Spanish and Portuguese citizens in 2011/12 is now being followed by countries such as Germany.

It was in October that the Germany federal auditors asked the Bundesbank to make a check on the nations gold reserves, most of which has been held in United States, Britain and France banks unchecked (physically) since the Cold War. The most that the Bundesbank has done has been to as for a written confirmation. Of that, 3,400 tons of gold worth an estimated U.S$190bn has been held in the vaults of the Federal Reserve, which has been giving huge bailouts to financial institutions such as JP Morgan, and printing money since the global economic crisis began in 2008.

Suspicions were first raised when some German lawmakers wants to check on their gold reserves held at the Banque de France in Paris to only end up being turned away according to Deutsche Welle.

However, according to metal expert James Turk, German reserves were depleted through leasing to the broader market by the Bundesbank since 2001. According to Turk:

“Half of the gold they (the Germans) leased themselves.  The other half of Germany’s gold hoard was eventually leased into the market as well through complicated swaps with the US.  But the reality is that as of 2001, all of that German gold was gone.  Meaning all German gold worldwide, which was supposed to be stored in vaults, the vaults were emptied of German gold and the gold was leased into the market.”

“It’s uncertain if any of that leased gold has ever been returned to those vaults.  Meaning, the vaults which are supposed to be storing the German gold hoard may still be empty.”

Now Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Ecuador are asking for a full audit of their gold reserves held at the Foreign Reserve. Ecuador has asked for the repatriation of their reserves. Under the cloud of security the Federal Reserve does not show willingness to cooperate.

To maintain the integrity of any unit, there must be trust. Obviously there is growing mistrust amongst our global governors who seek to eliminate sovereignty, and bring the whole world under its control,  and reasons for that mistrust.

For the growing numbers who have committed suicide in Europe due to the Merkel imposition of severe austerity measures, and for those who have lost faith that change is possible, hold on to your seat-belts because CHANGE is going to happen proving that hope is always present and available!

Sources:

Böll, S and Seith, A. “Why Germany Wants to See its US Gold” http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/german-politicians-demand-to-see-gold-in-us-federal-reserve-a-864068.html

“Germany orders a check on its gold reserves.” http://rt.com/business/news/germany-gold-reserves-check-472/

Howe, M. “Germany’s gold vaults exhausted a decade ago: Turk” http://www.mining.com/german-gold-hoard-exhausted-turk-27422/

“James Turk – The Entire German Gold Hoard Is Gone” http://kingworldnews.com/kingworldnews/KWN_DailyWeb/Entries/2012/10/25_James_Turk_-_The_Entire_German_Gold_Hoard_Is_Gone.html

“The List Has Grown: Switzerland, The Netherlands, And Ecuador Join Germany In Calls For Audits Of Their Gold”  http://gizadeathstar.com/2012/11/the-list-has-grown-switzerland-the-netherlands-and-ecuador-join-germany-in-calls-for-audits-of-their-gold/#ixzz2BpaCHvE6

Related Topics:

80% of Global Economy Owned By a Few

The History of Your Enslavement

Globalized Education and One World Government

Barclays Libor Case to Go to Trial*

Not Just About the Slave Wage of Mineworkers!

Shaky Times for Global Elite’s Economics

EU Commissioner Quits After Anti-Fraud Investigation

Goldman Sachs Bribes Senate for Bailout Bill!

Portugal Runs Out of Gold as Citizens Forced to Sell in Order to Eat

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Your Money, Their Interest – Banking Scandals Continue…

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The Sleazy Money that Bankrolls the International Elite

Guatemala: Gold Mine Plundering Sacred Resources

Controlling Haiti’s Gold

 

A Universal Shift in Reality!

Bankers Say Occupy Londoners are Right!*

Heavenly Signs: New Moon in Scorpio and November 2012

Stop the Doomsday Hype!*

Greek Special Forces in anti-Merkel Protest!

Occupy World: Germany Will Take Decision on Bailouts!

All Things are Connected!

You are an Expression of the Infinite…

IMF Economists: ‘We Were Wrong.’ Will Someone Please Tell The Press And The Politicians.

Occupy World: 38,000 Take Class Action Against ANZ Bank!*

Bolivia Strikes a Nerve in Rich’s Wealth!

German Police Officers Take Off Helmets & Marched With German Citizens Against Rothschild European Central Bank!

Heavenly Signs: Showered with Gold

80% of Global Economy Owned By a Few

80% of Global Economy Owned By a Few

Out of a database of an amazing 37 million companies and investors, the relationship, was studied and a mapping done by Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. They discovered that less than 1% controls it all! They include at the top of the pyramid:

#1 Barclays Plc

#2 Capital Group Companies Inc

#3 FMR Corporation

#4 AXA

#5 State Street Corporation

#6 JP Morgan Chase & Co.

#9 UBS AG

#10 Merrill Lynch & Co Inc

#12 Deutsche Bank

(#14) Credit Suisse Group

#16 Bank of New York Mellon Corp

#18 Goldman Sachs Group

#21 Morgan Stanley

#24 Société Générale

#25 Bank of America Corporation

 #26 Lloyds TSB Group

#34 Lehman Brothers Holdings

#35 Sun Life Financial

#41 ING Groep

#46 BNP Paribas

In the U.S. only five companies own half the economy:

  • JP Morgan Chase
  • Bank of America
  • Citigroup
  • Wells Fargo
  • Goldman Sachs Group

To help line their pockets, and to step-up centralization of the global economy i.e. One Government World, the pseudo industry of financial markets:

  • Speculated against the ability of nations to repay their debt or interest,
  • Downgraded the credit-worthiness of nations,
  • Placed higher interest on government debts

Thus plunging countries into further debt to enforce austerity measures that some say were in order to restore market confidence, but more likely to shock societies into compliance through acceptance of whatever self interested solutions that would be offered to the people and/or governments, thus peeling away sovereignty.

A 2005 report from Citigroup coined the term “plutonomy,” to describe countries “where economic growth is powered by and largely consumed by the wealthy few,” and specifically identified the U.K., Canada, Australia, and the United States as four plutonomies.

Source*

Related Topics:

A Universal Shift in Reality!

Globalized Education and One World Government

The History of Your Enslavement

Bankers Say Occupy Londoners are Right!*

Barclays Libor Case to Go to Trial*

Not Just About the Slave Wage of Mineworkers!

Wells Fargo Sued U.S$190mn, and Bank of America to Follow!

Test the Poor until they are Brain Dead, and Educate the Rich!

Shaky Times for Global Elite’s Economics

EU Commissioner Quits After Anti-Fraud Investigation

Arab Spring was Used to Expand Control Over Nations*

Who Governs America!

Conspiracy Theory Made Flesh in Front of Our Very Eyes

HSBC: The World’s Dirtiest Bank

JP Morgan Chase & the Looting of Iran

The Eight Families’ Rigged Oil Game

A World Where Only the Elite Have the Right to Make Decisions

Heavenly Signs: Powerful Solar Outburst Taking us One Step Further

Food By Permission of the Government Only!*

Economic Freedom Global Rating

‘Liberating’ the Moon of Its Natural Resources!

Are You Using the Gift of Choice, or is It Being Done for You!

Goldman Sachs Bribes Senate for Bailout Bill!

U.S. 17 Million Running Short of Food!*

Bahrain Funds U.Ks Military Academy!*

EUs Poorest Nation Says No to Euro!*

Barclays Gambles and Profits on the Food Price Crisis!*

Unannounced Transformation of the Fiat System

Spanish are Pulling Cash Out at Record Rate*

Why are World Business leaders Meeting in South Africa!

British Banksters Admit to Making Savers Poorer and the Rich, Richer!*

IMF Economists: ‘We Were Wrong.’ Will Someone Please Tell The Press And The Politicians.

Occupy World: 38,000 Take Class Action Against ANZ Bank!*

What an IMF Loan Cost Argentina, and How They Got Out of It!*

Greed of the 1% Destroying America

U.S. and Wasted Talent!

US$ 1.5Trn Siphoned Off Annually By Foreigners

U.S Banks Avoid Taxes By Creating Foreign Subsidaries*

German Police Officers Take Off Helmets & Marched With German Citizens Against Rothschild European Central Bank!

BRICS ~ Brazil, Russia, India, China, & South Africa: Block Rothschild’s US and EU Computer Generated Ponzi Bailout Scheme Money Issuances.

U.K: From Welfare to Food Banks!

The Self Control Gland and Self Awareness!

T.V: The Subconscious War

World Bank: Is Jim Yong Kim a Sign of Things to Come?

The Declaration of Occupy Atlanta*

Vulture Investors Playing Monopoly with Africa!

The British Tax Scandal!