New doc reveals how Gaza fishermen found — and lost — ancient treasure

Abu Ahmed, one of those who discovered the coins on the seabed just off the coast of Blakhiya, Gaza, tells the filmmakers he sold 10 of the Alexander decadrachms to local dealers. (YouTube)
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Updated 14 February 2020

New doc reveals how Gaza fishermen found — and lost — ancient treasure

AMMAN: In the spring of 2017, a group of fishermen in Gaza discovered treasure that could change their lives: A hoard of ancient Greek coins — over 2,000 years old — which included dozens of silver decadrachm coins from the time of Alexander the Great. Only 12 such coins had been officially recorded previously, and each is worth thousands of dollars (some, depending on their condition, are worth over $100,000).

A new documentary from the BBC — “Treasure Hunters,” available on YouTube — tells the story of the hoard’s discovery and what happened next. Abu Ahmed, one of those who discovered the coins on the seabed just off the coast of Blakhiya, Gaza, tells the filmmakers he sold 10 of the Alexander decadrachms to local dealers. He received a total of $150. “What can I say? I was happy,” he says.

“(The coins) are in the hands of people who don’t know what they are, why they are here, and what they represent for our country,” says Gaza-based archaeologist Fadel Alatol, to whom the fishermen brought a bag of coins to ask if he knew what they were. “It’s very painful.”

Before long, the coins were no longer in the possession of the fishermen. Most likely, they had been smuggled out of Gaza by the local dealers and sold on around the world. Officially, the find should have been declared to the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in Gaza, but the fishermen say they had no choice but to sell them. “Why should we be considered thieves?” one asks. “Our work, thank God, is honest. We are poor people. We want to live and eat and spend on our children.”




A new documentary from the BBC — “Treasure Hunters,” available on YouTube — tells the story of the hoard’s discovery and what happened next. (YouTube)

Months later, a number of Alexander decadrachm coins began to show up for sale at auction houses around the world. One sold for $130,000. No proof of origin (beyond, say, “Private Canadian collector”) was given for any of them (which is not illegal, but is “very unusual for extremely rare coins”) and many experts suspect they came from the Gaza hoard. But there is no way of proving it. Someone, somewhere, is making a lot of money from the find. But it isn’t the fishermen. And it isn’t Gaza.

“This was our only chance to get rich,” says Abu Ahmed. “But God didn’t approve it. We’ve woken up now.”


US rapper Kanye West to pay college tuition for George Floyd’s daughter

Kanye West has also donated $2 million toward helping fund the families and legal teams contesting the deaths of African Americans Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. (AFP)
Updated 10 min 45 sec ago

US rapper Kanye West to pay college tuition for George Floyd’s daughter

DUBAI: US rapper Kanye West on Thursday pledged to set up a college fund for the daughter of George Floyd, the African American who died at the hands of police.

Floyd’s longtime friend and former NBA (National Basketball Association) star Stephen Jackson shared a touching video this week on Instagram of Floyd’s daughter Gianna being carried on her uncle’s shoulders, smiling, and saying, “Daddy changed the world.”

According to CNN, father-of-four, West, has also donated $2 million toward helping fund the families and legal teams contesting the deaths of African Americans Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, and supporting black-owned businesses in crisis in his native Chicago and other cities.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

#kanyewest

A post shared by Kanye West (@kanyew.est) on

Over recent days, the streets of New York, Los Angeles, London, Toronto, Paris, and more have witnessed celebrities and influencers standing together in solidarity with black communities.  

Meanwhile, other stars, such as 42-year-old West, have taken to their social media platforms to demand justice and draw attention to various organizations which help low-income protesters pay bail, or donation pages that directly benefit the family members of victims.

Earlier this week, Iraqi-American beauty entrepreneur Huda Kattan and actors Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds donated a hefty sum amid the #BlackLivesMatter protests.