BLACK MARKET MAY BE THE SAVIOR
collection of materials on the Taliban destruction and plunder
of art. I think, however, that the conclusion of your essay
written with Jack Miles ("The illicit sale of art is one problem
for which the market is not the solution.") is completely
this case, the market (necessarily the black market in this
case) is the only thing that might save important objects
that otherwise would be destroyed for symbolic and ideological
reasons. If the Taliban couldn't profit from the work they're
sending out of the country, they'd just destroy it, right?
market value of the objects is what's preserving them, just
as the treasures of the war-damaged Kabul museum have been
saved only through the black market.
Also, how do 1500 year old Buddhist statues become part of
"Afghanistan's artistic heritage" to be "rape[d]" by collectors?
They were made in different time, in a different nation, by
a different people under a different religion. Only the geography
overlaps. Why shouldn't, say, a Buddhist collector in Japan
have as much claim to this work as a Muslim Afghan?
CONFUSE ISSUES BY POINTING FINGERS AT MUSEUMS
have read your article and others somewhat like it in that
they note the destruction of art but do not mention the abuse
of women by the Taliban. Or that museums are willing to buy
art from the Taliban but do nothing to stave off starvation
believe you confuse issues. A museum here and there has money
it would like to spend in order to save and to preserve a
cultural heritage. That there may be starvation and abuse
of women is a different issue and one addressed not by a museum
here and there but by an international body, though perhaps
interfering with "established" governments is an improper
use of a world-wide forum.
those in the business of concerning themselves with moral
and ethical issues do what they feel must be done. But do
not confuse issues by pointing fingers at museums or those
who would buy, sell, or smuggle art to willing markets. The
selling of artifacts, illegally, has been going on for many
years and is not likely to change, no matter what sort of
government or religion is in charge.