Archive for January, 2016

January 26, 2016

Speculation, misinformation and lies, they said. ‘Speak to Legenda and Pomost for facts’, they said.

In the discussion about the Nazi War Diggers’ Battlefield Recovery, one of the under-currents – or counter-currents – was a defence of the programme. Any search of #NaziWarDiggers or #BattlefieldRecovery will show that those defences were few and far between. And the knowledge and motives of even those few defenders were sometimes questionable.

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January 25, 2016

Nazi War Diggers’ Battlefield Recovery: playing soldiers and exhuming them

While it might be fun, it might not be fair to take the piss out of the Nazi War Diggers for finding it emotionally difficult to exhume some human remains. Handling dead bodies is a sombre and sombring act. It is certainly healthy for them to acknowledge the difficulty and manage their emotions, rather than try to be “manly” and “battle” through it. And it can be duly difficult to express such feelings as, when they found a child’s clothes, one retreated from the trench because his daughter ‘wears clothes‘ too.

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January 24, 2016

I have never before seen anyone jam a metal pole into a suspected mass grave

I don’t know what to say about the Nazi War Diggers’ latest episode of Battlefield Recovery, though it looks like Paul Barford will have something to say. I do know that I’ve never before seen a metal pole (probe/auger) used to try to find human remains in a suspected mass grave. Who could have guessed that the first probe in relation to the Nazi War Diggers would be on screen and being used by them?

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January 23, 2016

Lebanese authorities suspend Ashkal Alwan founder-director Christine Tohme’s passport

The good, the bad and the inevitable

In November 2015, I was lucky enough to be invited to Home Works, an arts forum at the Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts (Ashkal Alwan) in Beirut, Lebanon. Ali Cherri and I discussed matters from the invention of ruins to the end of the national museum.

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January 22, 2016

Metal harvest

This is a very brief post, in-between computer crashes. As the Wehrmacht Awards forum’s Jerry B (Bond) and so many others noted, the image of the Nazi War Diggers ‘trying to look like big game hunters with the spoils of the hunt was in incredibly bad taste‘.

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January 15, 2016

Not even battlefield looting: theft of medals from retired soldier’s home

A world away from genuine historians who respect soldiers and preserve evidence of service and sacrifice, there are military fetishists who get a safe vicarious thrill from handling the evidence of others’ risk and suffering.

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January 10, 2016

Battlefield Recovery’s Nazi War Digger ‘notes that the dog tag has no market value’. He should know. He sells dog tags.

Despite professional and public outcry then and now, the “Nazi War Diggers” who were going to be broadcast on National Geographic two years ago have been (barely) rebranded as action heroes of “Battlefield Recovery” and broadcast on Channel 5.

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January 6, 2016

The conflict antiquities trade: a historical overview – download

A (correctly-numbered) preprint copy of my historical overview of the conflict antiquities trade is available for download. As I mentioned before, the ICOM International Observatory‘s book is also available to read online.

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