Friday, August 10, 2007

Leakey calls Lucy's tour 'prostitution'

Ancient Greek and Roman artifacts, priceless artwork by great European painters, even prehistoric dinosaur fossil predating Lucy's bones have all been transported and displayed safely in museums around the world. Yet somehow, when Africa attempts to get earnings from display of a rare possession, it's called "prostitution?" I wonder if Mr. Richard Leakey has ever visited the Addis Ababa National Museum. I have, last year, and what a sad sight. The building is old, with staff looking lifeless and underpaid. A national museum that is uninviting is a good reason why many Ethiopians themselves have sadly not visited, though that's no excuse. And yes, even Lucy's bones on display are actually a replica. The smaller museum at Holy Trinity Church does better, though built with private funds, displaying surprising cultural treasures donated by Ethiopia's former imperial family. Sharing Lucy's fossil on tour can help educate and produce much needed funds to build facilities in Ethiopia for display of national treasures, securely and with dignity. So with all due respect, unless Mr. Leakey or any other critic is willing to help fund these projects, they need to quit preaching...Put up, or shut up!

..."It's a form of prostitution, it's gross exploitation of the ancestors of humanity and it should not be permitted," Leakey told The Associated Press in an interview Friday at his Nairobi office.

Leakey calls Lucy skeleton tour 'prostitution' (Associated Press) August 10, 2007