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Is it stealing if done for a higher cause?

It seems not, as a French judge deems climate change to be a greater crime.

ET Bureau|
Nov 05, 2019, 08.32 AM IST
Demonstrators hold upside-down portraits of French President Emmanuel Macron during a protest in Bayonne, France.
The T-shirt-clad thief who calmly walked into an art gallery in San Francisco in mid-October and walked off with a numbered etching of Salvador Dali’s famous 'Giraffe on Fire' worth over $20,000 could now have a new defence if and when he is apprehended: climate change. After all, this month, a judge in France has acquitted two anti-climate change activists charged with stealing a portrait photo of French President Emmanuel Macron, deeming the crime to be of secondary importance to the cause the purloiners were furthering. Admittedly, an official photo hanging in a government office is not exactly a precious work of art, but the principle of stealing for a higher cause has certainly been established by that eco-sensitive judge. And since the pilferers were not questioned about how their act of stealing would help the planet — or even force the president to act more decisively to that end — it may now be an acceptable practice.

Dali was probably unaware of an impending climate change crisis in 1966 when he did the etching, but his earlier oil work featuring a burning giraffe has been interpreted as a warning about war, apocalypse and the death of ethical values. Close enough? So, the thief has a new defence, even the etching now has new fanciers. The same cannot be said of the French president or his stolen portrait photos.
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