United Nations thanks Hollywood amid fight to save Syria's heritage
UNITED NATIONS (REUTERS) - The United Nations (UN) thanked Hollywood on Wednesday for raising awareness of cultural crimes during conflict with the movie The Monuments Men as the world body tries to stop the pillaging of Syria's heritage during the country's three-year civil war.
Unesco, the UN cultural, education and science arm, has in the past month started to train customs officials and police in neighboring Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan to look for the trafficking of cultural objects out of Syria, said Mr Francesco Bandarin, assistant director-general for culture at the agency.
Mr Bandarin said the new Hollywood film - which tells the story of experts tasked with retrieving artistic treasure stolen by the Nazis during World War Two - would raise global awareness of the illegal trade in artifacts stolen during more recent conflicts, such as Syria, Mali and Libya.
"I would like to thank Hollywood for bringing this issue to global attention because sometimes Hollywood is more powerful than all the UN system put together," Mr Bandarin said of the film, which opens in North America on Friday and stars George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray and Cate Blanchett.