Archive for June, 2009

dsc_0184After spending time in Turkey this northern summer I’m pretty sympathetic to calls for the return of artifacts stolen by colonial powers and others.  So it has been exciting to read about the parliamentary debate in the France over the return of Maori remains to Aotearoa New Zealand. The upper house/Senate voted unanimously on 29 June in favour of a bill calling for France’s museums to return all Maori heads still in their possession to New Zealand. The bill now heads to the National Assembly for approval. France’s newly appointed ministry of culture, Frederic Mitterrand, has supported the legislation and said, “these mummified heads led to a particularly barbaric trade, fuelled by the sinister curiosity of travellers and European collectors.”  France has about 15 Maori heads, including eight at Paris’ Quai Branly museum of tribal arts, which opened in 2006.

dsc_01021The UN Secretary General has launched a cyber campaign to promote nuclear disarmament. Through Twitter and Facebook the 100-day “We Must Disarm” campaign features some lame celebrities (anyone under 50 years???) and a MySpace by a 27-year-old male and single, Virgo UN employee [not this guy!]. The campaign sounds out three reasons to promote nuclear disarmament, because: (more…)