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.”


Celebrities, influencers call for justice over black man’s death in US

Part-Saudi model Shanina Shaik said: ‘Their (the police) job is not to kill. It has to change.’ (AFP)
Updated 28 May 2020

Celebrities, influencers call for justice over black man’s death in US

DUBAI: Celebrities and influencers around the world have taken to social media to protest against the actions of four US police officers that allegedly led to the death of a black male suspect.

A video, circulated online, showed an unidentified officer kneeling on George Floyd’s neck and ignoring his pleas of “please, please, please, I can’t breathe. Please, man.”

Police in Minneapolis, Minnesota where the incident took place, later said that Floyd matched the description of a suspect in a forgery case and had resisted arrest. All four officers have been fired.

Part-Palestinian supermodel Bella Hadid shared a picture of Floyd on Instagram and said: “This has got to stop. It’s hard to watch a video so foul. It’s hard to think that this is still happening, but it is reality.

“These police officers need to be accountable to the maximum degree for their obviously disgusting and horrific actions. I feel so sick, sad, and sorry for George Floyd and his family.”

Her sister, Gigi Hadid, also spoke up about the viral video on her Instagram account. “This is why it is more disheartening and nauseating every time. And not just black men – every senseless act of discrimination that burdens this country,” she wrote to her 54.2 million followers.

Part-Saudi model Shanina Shaik said: “We should all feel protected and know we can be safe. Their (the police) job is not to kill. It has to change.”

Below are more reactions from famous stars addressing Floyd’s death.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

#JusticeForFloyd

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