Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Selling what was stolen

On the 17th February 2011, Sotheby's London will be selling an ivory pendant mask stolen from Benin by Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Lionel Galway.  Details of the sale are here.  It is anticipated to be sold for between 3.5-4.5 million pounds
The polite violence of the language on the sales page is sickening. As a euphemism for 'stolen', the writer uses the word 'collected.'
The good news is that this sale of a stolen good is being resisted.  Please contact Kayode Ogundamisi if you can offer legal help, or want to register you support to the campaign.
One would hope that the Edo State Government and relevant traditional leaders are alerted to the attempt to double a wrong.
I would imagine that a formal public request for the stolen artefact should be made, and arrangements for its safe-keeping (and public display) in Benin now considered.

Click here to go to the petition page and here for the Facebook campaign page.


Pwettybambi 4:06 pm  

OMG this makes me so mad

Anonymous,  5:36 pm  

ok. I say enough is enough of this nonsense.
The artefacts have been stolen and should be returned.Simple

Brother 6:04 pm  

Jeremy, let's call a spade a spade my brother. These things were not stolen. They were collected. War booty. Plunder. To the victor, the spoils. As along with millions of bodies, hearts and minds.. They won it far and square in war, and until we recognise this truth, we shall be forever slaves. My only offence is that the mask should be worth more than three or four million quid. Ignorant idiots!!

UKMedic,  2:52 pm  

Gosh,this is so uncanny...i was just about to send you this link myself,Jeremy.

@ "Brother"..please educate yourself. These artefacts were STOLEN. Simple. They were pillaged from our historical sites & emblems of authority during the British Govts punitive expedition of 1897 against Benin City.

This is just so infuriating! What is our govt doing? They should demand that this shameful event be stopped & our rightful property returned to us.

It is a shame that artefacts & pieces of our cultural history, ethnic identity and ancient symbolism are treated with such cursory disrespect and are on display to be SOLD to the highest bidder.

This is arrant arrogance & a slap in the face to our national pride.

No,we don't want our rare & precious works of art being sold off to a mafia don in Italy, the head of a drug cartel in Mexico or to be part of the private collection of a corrupt oligarch in Moscow!!

The govt should either protest vigorously about this to the British govt or buy these items during the auction & bring them back home to where they rightfully belong!

Anonymous,  10:37 am  

I'm afraid I agree with Brother, the items are spoils of war. However, the right thing to do would be for our government to do a deal; the items are withdrawn from sale and fair compensation is paid. Sounds simple? Hmmm....the question is do we have competent ministers, who are also trustworthy? Sounds like an oxymoron, a competent and trustworthy minister!! Otherwise, the slim, badly paid and overworked National Assembly intellectuals will demand the masks be kept with them, and guess what it will still end up in a private collection abroad.

Bose,  3:26 pm  

In totally unrelated news, and please pardon me for that, do you intend to ever discuss Adaobi's NYT article on this blog. What a terrible article written by someone who should know better. Flawed logic, badly researched and just plain wrong-headed! Very,very disappointing!

nantygreens 6:39 pm  

our govt will never do anything. When they are busy sharing money and getting favours from their foreign counterpacts.

Brother 2:57 am  

Hey UKMedic, don't be patronising old boy. Seems like you could use a little education yourself.

Punitive expedition, you say. Implies a punishment of a lesser power by a greater one, no? This was the age of colonialism, conquest and the Scramble for Africa. So please, let's call a spade a spade and not merely a very big spoon. To relate to this as theft seriously misses the point. There is a reason you are a UKMedic and are here writing in English. Doubt your mother tongue and land were stolen, were they? Collected? Hmm..

And you advocate BUYING back? or how much? With whose money? Would that not be rewarding theft?

Or what was it? Govt should protest vigorously, you say. LOL.. Which govt? Protest to whom? On what authority?

Come on man, educate yourself!!

Anonymous,  5:44 pm  

Bose, spare Jeremy a thought. Adaobi is one of his (Cassava Republic's) writers so he can't be seen to diss her in public. But then he does have intellectual freedom, or so we think... Can he/will he take up Adaobi?(will he take the bait, is he chicken?) Ps -All this presume he too has an issue with Adaobi's comments. He may well agree with them!

Ade Moss's son 10:33 am  

Ghana was called the Gold Coast by d time d British was done wit d gold dey had 2 change d name. You don't see dem askin for d gold back.

Anonymous,  6:55 pm  

@ Bose
Do people not have a right to express an opinion any more? I think most of what she said has been taken out of context with the Nobel laurete thingy. What's the big deal about a nobel any way?

African writers do need to start thinking outside of the usual political boxes. It does get boring after a while. That's part of Adaobi's discourse. If you don't agree, write a piece of your own. Don't come here to vent. Highly inappropriate!

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