What’s Rome got to do with it? An Examination of Western Perspectives on the Value of Middle Eastern Antiquities
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Hood College Foreign Languages and Literatures
Hood College Departmental Honors
Citation of Original Publication
Throughout history, the West has conquered and controlled. Whether through war spoils or pioneer expansion, Western influence has touched almost every corner of the world. Because of this, there is a certain mentality among those who reside in the Western world, an intrinsic feeling of stewardship and ownership. This feeling, which most Westerners are completely unaware of, creates a subconscious desire to ‘protect’ the things they feel connected to, the things they feel they possess an ownership of. It is imperative to have a firm understanding of the mentality behind the colonial and imperial history of the West to truly comprehend where this sense of stewardship and ownership originate from. The colonial mentality, which at its core is psychologically based, centers on the idea that the colonizer’s culture is superior to the colonized culture. Westerners often believe that because of their connection to places through past colonization, they have a duty to protect and manage property that they have a sense of stewardship for. The basis of stewardship, transcribed in its definition, presumes that the steward has been entrusted with the care of the object by the rightful owner. However, all too often this sense of stewardship morphs in a sense of ownership, that the property or object belongs, indirectly, to the West, and the destruction of it is a direct attack on the West. This is the prevailing mentality that is connected to the past and current situations of antiquity destruction in the Middle East.