Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat :

Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : King and Queen of the Netherlands Pay Tribute to MLK During Visit to Atlanta 

King Willem-Alexander, center, and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands place a wreath at the tombs of Martin Luther King Jr., and Coretta Scott King as the King's daughter Bernice King, left, looks on during a visit to the King Center, Monday, June 10, 2024, in Atlanta. (AP)
King Willem-Alexander, center, and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands place a wreath at the tombs of Martin Luther King Jr., and Coretta Scott King as the King's daughter Bernice King, left, looks on during a visit to the King Center, Monday, June 10, 2024, in Atlanta. (AP)
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King and Queen of the Netherlands Pay Tribute to MLK During Visit to Atlanta 

King Willem-Alexander, center, and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands place a wreath at the tombs of Martin Luther King Jr., and Coretta Scott King as the King's daughter Bernice King, left, looks on during a visit to the King Center, Monday, June 10, 2024, in Atlanta. (AP)
King Willem-Alexander, center, and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands place a wreath at the tombs of Martin Luther King Jr., and Coretta Scott King as the King's daughter Bernice King, left, looks on during a visit to the King Center, Monday, June 10, 2024, in Atlanta. (AP)

The king and queen of the Netherlands began a four-day tour of the US on Monday in Atlanta, where they paid tribute to the late Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and learned about the history of the church where he served as pastor.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima were also scheduled to visit a music studio in the city that is a hub for hip hop artists.

The visit — and its focus on Black cultural sites — comes less than a year after the king apologized for his country’s role in slavery and asked for forgiveness during a historic and emotional speech in Amsterdam.

At the King Center, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter, Bernice King, greeted the king and queen and walked with them to a marble crypt containing the remains of her father and mother, Coretta Scott King, where the couple lay a wreath. Civil rights leader and former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young also attended the event.

Willem-Alexander called the visit "deeply moving" for the couple and said the "drive for emancipation among people of color" was a story of "pain and anger, but also one of pride, solidarity and the steadfast belief in peace and reconciliation."

"In the Netherlands, too, the fight against discrimination and racism continues to command our full attention," he said, reading from prepared remarks. "Martin Luther King inspires us never to give up. His voice continues to resonate even across the Atlantic."

The couple later met with Black students at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where they learned about the church's role in the Civil Rights Movement and the fight for racial justice. On Tuesday, they are scheduled to visit Savannah State University, the oldest public historically Black college or university in Georgia.

The trip also has an economic motive. In 2023, total trade between Georgia and the Netherlands was $2.9 billion, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

The king and queen met earlier Monday with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp at the state Capitol, where they and a delegation of Dutch business leaders planned to discuss economic cooperation.

They were scheduled to be on hand later for the opening of a new cold storage facility by Dutch company NewCold.

On Tuesday, they plan to visit the Port of Savannah. The trip concludes with a visit to New York on Wednesday and Thursday.



Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Cyprus Displays Jewelry, Early Christian Icons and Bronze Age Antiquities Once Looted From Island

A presidential security officer stands behind antiquities repatriated from Germany and put on display at the Archeological museum, in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Monday, July 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
A presidential security officer stands behind antiquities repatriated from Germany and put on display at the Archeological museum, in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Monday, July 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
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Cyprus Displays Jewelry, Early Christian Icons and Bronze Age Antiquities Once Looted From Island

A presidential security officer stands behind antiquities repatriated from Germany and put on display at the Archeological museum, in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Monday, July 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
A presidential security officer stands behind antiquities repatriated from Germany and put on display at the Archeological museum, in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Monday, July 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Cyprus on Monday put on display artifacts — some of them thousands of years old — that were returned after a Turkish art dealer looted them from the ethnically divided island nation decades ago.
Aydin Dikmen took the artifacts from the country's breakaway north in the years after Cyprus’ split in 1974, when Turkiye invaded following a coup mounted by supporters of union with Greece. The antiquities were kept in Germany after authorities there seized them in 1997, and protracted legal battles secured their repatriation in three batches, the last one this year.
Addressing the unveiling ceremony at Cyprus' archaeological museum, President Nikos Christodoulides said the destruction of a country’s cultural heritage as evidenced in recent conflicts becomes a “deliberate campaign of cultural and religious cleansing that aims to eliminate identity.”
Among the 60 most recently returned artifacts put on display include jewelry from the Chalcolithic Period between 3500-1500 B.C. and Bronze Age bird-shaped idols.
Antiquities that Dikmen also looted but were returned years ago include 1,500-year-old mosaics of Saints Luke, Mark, Matthew and James. They are among the few examples of early Christian works to survive the Iconoclastic period in the 8th and 9th centuries when most such works were destroyed.
Cyprus' authorities and the country's Orthodox Church for decades have been hunting for the island’s looted antiquities and centuries-old relics from as many as 500 churches in open auctions and on the black market.
The museum's antiquities curator, Eftychia Zachariou, told the ceremony that Cyprus in recent years has benefited from a shift in thinking among authorities in many countries who now opt to repatriate antiquities of dubious provenance.