July 06, 2006

Persian cuneiform -> $$$

I just read an article about an international incident in the making. Here's the executive summary: A few years ago some Americans were killed in a suicide bombing in Israel. The suicide bomber might have been sent by Hamas, who are probably partially funded by Iran, so the survivors sued Iran in an American court for compensation. And won. So then, in order to collect, they found that a priceless collection of Persian cuneiform tablets excavated from ancient Persepolis by University of Chicago researchersóand still housed in the U of C museumówere technically "on loan" from the Iranian government. So they sued to get these assets seized from the U of Chicago, to be auctioned off so they could get their money. They won this, too, and the U of C is understandably having a fit. As, for that matter, is the Iranian government.

It's so wrong on so many levels. Who is this going to hurt? Not the Palestinians. Not Hamas. Not even Iran, really. It hurts the university, and the archaeological community. It really hurts the rest of the country's museums, who will now have a much harder time getting collections on loan. It mostly helps the lawyer who is pushing the suit through, and now Iran will have a very legitimate grievance against the US government.

The rest of the world will just see this as evidence that the US is too full of greedy idiots. And they'll be right.

"So, Middle Eastern men, gang bangers, etc., listen up!† It has been scientifically shown that firing guns into the air for entertainment is not a good idea. Please stop right away. Also knock off with the holy wars and random violence. Thank you." --Cecil Adams

Posted by blahedo at 7:32pm on 6 Jul 2006
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