The Guardian, 29 May 2011
An anonymous art dealer passionate about Afghan heritage has teamed up with the British Museum in an effort to buy and repatriate a spectacular antiquity believed to have been looted from the Afghan national museum in Kabul during the 1990s.
The British dealer, who said he had a “very strong emotional attachment” to Afghanistan, resolved to buy the 2nd-century Gandharan Buddha after he recognised it in a photograph sent by a colleague in Japan. The sculpture, which had disappeared in the bloody civil war, had been bought by a Japanese collector.
As Tunisia recovers from revolutionary upheaval, officials hope the country’s ancient artefacts can be a springboard to attract visitors and renew youths’ interest in their history.
Following the recent events in Syria, the Blue Shield expresses its deep concern regarding the safeguarding of the country’s invaluable cultural and historical heritage. The Blue Shield also deplores the suffering and loss of life during this conflict.
Between 1980 and 2006, six sites bearing witness to the rise and fall of sophisticated cultures stretching from prehistory to the 17th century were chosen to become part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Ancient cities of Aleppo, Bosra, and Damascus are evidence of the civilizations that passed by, settled and flourished in Syria between the 2nd millennium B.C. and the 17th century A.C.
To read the rest of the statement, download the English version of the statement (pdf)