Other People’s Cultural Assets Are Up for Grabs

Share

Hits: 25

The rapacious conduct of the big hyenas is being replicated by their camp followers. Not to be outdone, Kosovo Albanians are laying claim to Serbian cultural monuments in Kosovo.

A controversy has recently erupted in Mexico, of the type that may quite often be seen in other similarly defrauded countries. Its focus is the magnificent quetzal-plumed headdress of the last Aztec emperor Moctezuma which, contrary to the misleading impression encouraged by the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, is not displayed there at all. It is actually located, of all places, in the Ethnological Museum in Vienna, Austria.

The impression is misleading because as recalled by all visitors to the Mexican Museo de Antropologia the headdress occupies a deservedly prominent position among the museum’s numerous artefacts. Viewers are not informed, however, that what is on display there is not the genuine item but a skilfully manufactured replica. Nor are they told where the genuine article is located, or what unusual circumstances explain its transfer to a minor European country that has no visible connection to the safekeeping of Mexican people’s national heritage. Unless, of course, we take into account the brief reign of Maximillian von Habsburg as the foreign-imposed emperor of Mexico in the nineteenth century. But as it turns out, that seemingly plausible assumption is a false trail. The defeated Aztec emperor’s headdress was purloined and removed to Europe by the victorious Spanish conquistadors half a millennium ago, and it ended up in Hapsburg Vienna through labyrinthine dynastic channels. But that is a pedantic clarification of the artefact’s odyssey which in principle scarcely makes any difference.

Moctezuma’s headdress

The fate of this national treasure par excellence of the people of Mexico is vividly illustrative of the policy of cultural appropriation (or, perhaps, expropriation would be just as good a word) that has been and still is zealously practiced by shameless Western imperialists. Cultural vandalism would probably be the best terms of all.

The fabled Elgin Marbles immediately come to mind. The history of this section of the Parthenon that was brazenly looted by the Earl of Elgin, at the time the Ambassador Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of His Britannic Majesty to the Sublime Porte of Selim III, Sultan of Turkey, of whose realm Greece then formed a part, is emblematic of Western looting of other nations’ cultural patrimony. Lord Elgin cast an eye on the Parthenon and saw an opportunity to acquire what he could of it by bribing the corruptible Ottoman bureaucracy. After making a sweetheart deal with the local pasha (camouflaged with a forged imperial firman the original copy of which was never found in the meticulously kept Turkish archives) he arranged for the artefacts to be shipped by sea to Britain, where they are now on display in the Duveen Gallery of the British Museum. The pattern of iniquitous deal making with third parties, while excluding the party with the direct and natural interest in the matter, henceforth became a feature of Western and in particular British policy. Greece’s attempts going back two centuries to reclaim its stolen treasure have been stonewalled and, obviously, have had no success.

One of the arguments advanced by Western opponents of restitution is that, were all similar claims to be honoured, Western museums would be emptied of the objects on display there. Their argument is breathtakingly cynical, but they also make a valid point. Yes, of course, the bust of Nefertiti in Berlin’s Neues Museum in this connection readily comes to mind, as well as thousands of other looted objects in museums throughout the continent. Goering’s robbery spree across occupied Europe was but a crude imitation of the way these artistic treasures were acquired in the first place. Though scathingly denounced for his depredations after the war, in Marxian terms in the milieu in which he operated the Reichsmarschall was not an aberration. He was merely expropriating the expropriators.

The point was brilliantly illustrated much later, at the time of the memorable liberation of Iraq by coalition armies. Specially trained units made a bee line to Iraq’s National Museum immediately upon the taking of Baghdad, and not because anyone thought that the elusive weapons of mass destruction were hidden among its treasures. The Museum was systematically pillaged, Goering-style, never mind the irksome 1954 Hague Convention on the protection of cultural property which sternly forbids it. Shortly thereafter, Iraqi artefacts began to emerge and were being offered in copious quantities to eager collectors all over Europe and North America.

Predictably, the rapacious conduct of the big hyenas is being replicated by their camp followers. Not to be outdone, Kosovo Albanians are laying claim to Serbian cultural monuments in Kosovo and Metohija.

Serbian cultural monuments in Kosovo and Metohija

As seen in the map, Serbian cultural markers thickly cover the entirety of the tiny province’s territory, with none reflecting a culturally significant historical presence by another ethnicity. Undaunted by that, a pseudo-scholarly rationale for the cultural expropriation of Serbian monuments in Kosovo and their reclassification as Albanian is currently being developed in leading Western institutions of learning, on behalf of their Kosovo Albanian clients. The work of Sir Noel Malcolm, a King’s Scholar at Eton College, “Kosovo: A Short History”, is a case in point in that regard. It is a companion volume to his earlier hit piece of similar inspiration, “Bosnia: A Short History”.

Returning to Moctezuma’s headdress, or penacho as they call it in Mexico, Vienna Ethnological Museum director Christian Schicklbruber offered some revealing views in the matter. “The Museum,” he stated, “cannot make any decisions with respect to political issues.” As to who the penacho should belong to, he indicated that he preferred to call it “shared cultural patrimony,” stressing that “legally it belongs to Austria, but ethically and morally it is a shared cultural item. I would call it ‘ours,’ not mine, it is not Austrian, all of us share it.” Anyway, according to Herr Schicklgruber, it is a matter for the Austrian parliament and Ministry of Culture to decide.

Bank robbers should take note and be inspired by the Schicklgruber Doctrine (and we will not trivialize it by speculating what famous individual the museum director might be related to). They should try arguing in court that their heist is not really the property of the bank at all, but a shared financial asset to which they are entirely entitled to lay an equal and valid claim.


Originally published on 2021-02-01

About the author: Stephen Karganovic is President of the Srebrenica Historical Project.

Source: Strategic Culture Foundation

Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics, and international relations.

READ MORE!
The Bosnian Muslim Government Reformed the WWII Nazi SS Division Handzar in 1992-1995
Marko Attila Hoare rejects and suppresses this factual image of Bosnian history in favor of a fantasy or delusional image from a television comedy. The real Heinrich Himmler (Heimlich Bimmler) reviewing the real or “historical” Bosnian Muslim Nazi SS Division Handzar, 1943. Did the Bosnian Muslim Army and Government reform or recreate the infamous Nazi SS Division Handzar or not? Based on Martko Attila Hoare’s response to my article, Hoare now concedes that, indeed, there was a formation in the Bosnian Muslim Army termed the “Handzar Division”. Let me reiterate that. Hoare admitted that the Bosnian Muslim Government did indeed reform the ...
READ MORE
Kosovo’s Great Martyr
The Battle and the Nation The consciousness of a distinct Serbian ethnic identity had been present among the Serbs since the times of the founder of an independent medieval Serbian state, veliki župan (Grand Duke) Stefan Nemanja (1166−1196).[1] These consciousnesses were further strengthened by both when Serbia became a kingdom in 1217 and with the establishment of an autocephalous archbishopric in 1219 as a national independent (Christian Orthodox) church.[2] However, the Battle of Kosovo (on the morning of June 28th, 1389)[3] which the Serbs de facto lost to the Ottoman Turks and the death of a Serbian ruler, Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović ...
READ MORE
Airstrikes Without Justice
To describe the US attack on Syria as a serious development is to be guilty of understatement. Without any recourse to international law or the United Nations, the Trump administration has embarked on an act of international aggression against yet another sovereign state in the Middle East, confirming that neocons have reasserted their dominance over US foreign policy in Washington. It is an act of aggression that ends any prospect of détente between Washington and Moscow in the foreseeable future, considerably increasing tensions between Russia and the US not only in the Middle East but also in Eastern Europe, where NATO ...
READ MORE
Martti Ahtisaari and Kosovo: Projections, Externalizations, and Projective Identifications
Projections and Projective IdentificationsMartti Ahtisaari, the Chairman Emeritus of the International Crisis Group (ICG), a globalist think tank sponsored by the US, asserted that all Serbs were “guilty as a nation” for seeking to prevent the secessionist/separatist Greater Albania movement launched by Albanian ultra-nationalist terrorists in 1998. He told the Serbian Kosovo negotiating team that “you are guilty as a nation.” This is an example of the racist concept of “collective guilt” typically applied to a group of people based on shared characteristics to punish that group. It is one of the most primitive and barbaric human conceptions ever devised. ...
READ MORE
De-Recognition of Kosovo: US Tries to Stem the Tide
The international community is accustomed to the so-called “checkbook diplomacy” that has been used by China and Taiwan to pilfer each other’s diplomatic allies by exchanging diplomatic recognition for generous financial assistance packages. However, this same battle for diplomatic recognition and de-recognition is being played out between Serbia and its breakaway province of Kosovo. The United States and much of NATO has not only granted Kosovo diplomatic recognition over the objection of Serbia but has also pressured other countries to recognize Kosovo’s independence. This process has hit a major stumbling block amid charges from various parties that fake diplomatic letters ...
READ MORE
Towards the Creation of a “Greater Albania”: Historical Roots & Imperial Ambitions
IntroductionToday it is quite obvious that the Western-backed process of creation of a Greater Albania is not any propaganda myth but rather visible reality. South Serbia’s province of Kosovo-Metochia is already, de facto, part of “united” Albania from June 1999 and current political situation in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is surely going to the direction of the separation of North-West Macedonia mainly populated by Albanians who succeeded with the crucial Western support to promulgate a new language law in Macedonia’s Parliament according to which, the Albanian language is going to be a second state language (i. e., together ...
READ MORE
The USA – The Real Reason Why They Are Never Winning Their Wars
This essay is inspired by Professor James Petras’s article, describing that the US never wins wars despite trillions of investments in her war budget and obvious military superiority. Professor Petras is of course right, the United States is currently engaged in seven bloody wars around the globe (Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya) and has not been winning one, including WWII. The question is: Why is that? To these wars, you may want to add the totally destructive and human rights adverse war that literally slaughters unarmed civilians, including thousands of children, in an open-air prison, Gaza, the US proxy war ...
READ MORE
The European Union, Moral Hypocrisy, and Stroking Tension in the Balkans
Over the past several years, analysts and commentators have noticed a rising tide of domestic support for the Croatian homegrown Nazi movement of the Second World War, the Ustashe, which actively exterminated Serbs, Jews, and Roma in the territory it controlled from 1941-45. Far from condemning this alarming development, the Croatian government, the European Union, and non-state actors within it have tacitly and actively supported the rising tide of sympathy towards the Ustashe.This disconnect between the ostensible “European values” of human rights and tolerance that the European Union claims to represent, and its tacit support of trends towards extremist politics ...
READ MORE
From Kosovo to Crimea — Tales of Referendums
Following the death of President Tito in 1980 the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia slid towards chaos. In the 1990s the plunge accelerated into civil war and one of the regions most affected was Kosovo from which Serbia withdrew after a NATO bomb and rocket offensive from 24 March to 11 June 1999. That blitz involved over 1,000 mainly American aircraft conducting some 38,000 airstrikes on Yugoslavia that killed approximately 500 civilians and destroyed much of the economic and social infrastructure of the region.NATO said its air bombardment was essential to halt repression of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo and justified the ...
READ MORE
Depleted Uranium Haunts Kosovo and Iraq
Iraq and Kosovo may be thousands of miles apart, but they share the dubious distinction of contamination with radioactive residue from depleted uranium (DU) bullets used in American air strikes. After several years of silence, US officials finally admitted that 340 tons of DU were fired during the Gulf war. In Kosovo, American delays in providing details of quantities and target points have frustrated international efforts to assess health risks. Despite repeated requests, NATO waited almost a full year after the start of bombing in March 1999 to say that 31,000 DU bullets–a fraction of the number fired in Iraq–were ...
READ MORE
German Interests in the War Against Yugoslavia
Churchill once said that in war the truth is so precious it has to be surrounded with a bodyguard of lies. In Germany over the last two months one clearly saw the fabrication of such a bodyguard. Even as air attacks proceeded against civilian targets—destroying factories, electricity works, refineries, bridges, streets, railway lines and apartment blocks— German government representatives spoke of a ” humanitarian action ” . Despite the fact that the NATO attacks unleashed the massive wave of refugees and reduced towns and villages in Kosovo to ruins , it has been maintained to the very end that the aim ...
READ MORE
CIA Was Aiding “Jihadists” before Soviets Invaded Afghanistan
Originally, there were four parties involved in the Afghan conflict which are mainly responsible for the debacle in the Af-Pak region. Firstly, the former Soviet Union which invaded Afghanistan in December 1979. Secondly, Pakistan’s security agencies which nurtured the Afghan so-called “mujahideen” (freedom fighters) on the behest of Washington.Thirdly, Saudi Arabia and the rest of oil-rich Gulf states which generously funded the jihadists to promote their Wahhabi-Salafi ideology. And last but not the least, the Western capitals which funded, provided weapons and internationally legitimized the erstwhile ‘freedom fighters’ to use them against a competing ideology, global communism, which posed a ...
READ MORE
Kosovo Albanian “Skanderbeg SS Division”
The historical and political precedents for the creation of a greater Sqiperia or Greater Albania was set during World War II when the Kosovo and Metohija regions along with territory Southwest of lake Skutari from Montenegro and the western region of Southern Serbia, or Juzna Srbija (now part of Macedonia), were annexed to Albania by the Axis powers led by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, under a plan devised by Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler to dismember and to destroy the Serbian Nation and people, which the Germans and Italians perceived as the main threat to the Axiss powers and ...
READ MORE
NATO Doesn’t Care that Montenegro is a Haven for Crime and Corruption
There was international jubilation when Montenegro seceded from its union with Serbia in 2006 after a controversial referendum. The Referendum Law prevented Montenegrins living and registered in Serbia from voting in the referendum, ensuring that tens of thousands of Montenegrins, in a country of only 622,000, who would have voted to remain the union could not vote in favour of maintaining it.It must be remembered that state-paid workers like teachers and police were told by the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) leader Miodrag Vuković before the referendum May 2006, that someone “cannot work for the state and vote against it,” something objectively ...
READ MORE
NATO Attack on Serbian State TV Wiped from Record
On 23 April 1999, a NATO missile attack on Radio Television of Serbia (RTS) headquarters killed 16 employees of the state broadcaster. The forgotten war crime occurred during the Kosovo War (March 1998-June 1999), and was part of NATO’s aerial campaign alongside the US-backed Kosovo Liberation army, in opposition to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.In the aftermath of the attack there were no great public campaigns launched for the 16 murdered journalists and employees, no outpouring of emotion for those killed, no calls for solidarity and togetherness in the face of aggression. On the contrary the West justified this grievous ...
READ MORE
Serbia’s Sovereignty as a Nation State: Serbia does not need a ‘Dialogue’ on Kosovo
“Now that the global circumstances have changed, and when the United States and NATO are losing their influence, and while the powers that are in favor of preserving Kosovo and Metohija – such as Russia and China – are strengthening, we are nevertheless pursuing a policy of complete surrender.”The aim of the internal dialogue conducted by the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, should be to distribute responsibilities and to be the cover for the final surrender of Kosovo and Metohija.The government constantly assures us that it will never recognize Kosovo as an independent State, but here we must point out the ...
READ MORE
Great Powers Rivalry and the Emergence of Albania in 1912-1913
The Great Powers installed a German army officer, a German Prince William, Wilhelm of Wied, Germany, as the first recognized ruler of an “independent” Albania, a puppet or proxy regime or government set up by the Great Powers. In many ways, the conflict between the Great Powers and Serbia over Albania in 1912-1913 prefigured and foreshadowed and was the precursor of the open conflict over Kosovo beginning in 1998. Albania achieved independence only because Serbia and the other Balkan League powers were able to defeat Ottoman Turkey militarily. The Great Powers immediately established a protectorate in Albania and planned to use ...
READ MORE
The Yugoslavia Counter-Narrative in 1993: Sean Gervasi, a Neglected Expert, Spoke Out in the Early Years of the Catastrophe
TRANSCRIPT:Harold Channer (HC): Good evening and welcome very, very much to the conversation. We’re pleased to welcome to the program, Sean Gervasi. He is a professor and academic who is concerned with economics and particularly with what is relevant to what we want to talk about tonight. He has just returned from a long stay in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, and knows something of that situation. Sean Gervasi, welcome very, very much to the conversation, and back to New York. Before we go into some detail about what in the world is going on in terms of the Balkans, from your experience ...
READ MORE
A Liberal Democracy, a Market Capitalist Economy and the Permanent Wars
War is not an anomaly, nor an exception to the rule, it has always been with us and it might always be. Militarism and its practice in war are subcategories of waste (the harmful things we produce such as pollution and bombs) and domains of accumulation themselves. They are also prerequisites for the expansion of capital and its market economy. Much is done to portray war as an inherent attribute of human fallibility or an unintended consequence. However, mainstream concepts associated with the promotion of the market economy are weapons of the ruling class. They are all laced with poison. ...
READ MORE
The entrance-gate to the death camp of Jasenovac in Croatia
While this excellent analysis by Srdja Trifkovic focuses on the “internal” history of Croatia, it is important to note that four days after Nazi Germany declared war on the United States, Hitler’s staunch ally the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) declared war on both the United Kingdom and on the United States on December 14, 1941. What makes this especially significant is that less than three years later, on April 16, 1944, which was Easter Sunday for the Serbian Orthodox, the Anglo-American forces bombed Belgrade, the capital of their loyal and devoted ally Serbia, even though there was no strategic ...
READ MORE
The Bosnian Muslim Government Reformed the WWII Nazi SS Division Handzar in 1992-1995
Kosovo’s Great Martyr
Airstrikes Without Justice
Martti Ahtisaari and Kosovo: Projections, Externalizations, and Projective Identifications
De-Recognition of Kosovo: US Tries to Stem the Tide
Towards the Creation of a “Greater Albania”: Historical Roots & Imperial Ambitions
The USA – The Real Reason Why They Are Never Winning Their Wars
The European Union, Moral Hypocrisy, and Stroking Tension in the Balkans
From Kosovo to Crimea — Tales of Referendums
Depleted Uranium Haunts Kosovo and Iraq
German Interests in the War Against Yugoslavia
CIA Was Aiding “Jihadists” before Soviets Invaded Afghanistan
Kosovo Albanian “Skanderbeg SS Division”
NATO Doesn’t Care that Montenegro is a Haven for Crime and Corruption
NATO Attack on Serbian State TV Wiped from Record
Serbia’s Sovereignty as a Nation State: Serbia does not need a ‘Dialogue’ on Kosovo
Great Powers Rivalry and the Emergence of Albania in 1912-1913
The Yugoslavia Counter-Narrative in 1993: Sean Gervasi, a Neglected Expert, Spoke Out in the Early Years of the Catastrophe
A Liberal Democracy, a Market Capitalist Economy and the Permanent Wars
Croatia and Nazi Germany
FOLLOW US ON OUR SOCIAL PLATFORMS
Share