Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Communists and Worse-that-Nazis and the US Establishment

It is difficult not to comment on this rant from a Californian coin dealer called "The Cyprus Disconnection" about the alleged-spy-leader-that-got-away story which is worth discussing here as it is typical of the world view of at least part of the antiquity collecting community (my emphasis):
After the US State Department betrayed the interests of US citizens to curry favor with the Greek Cypriot regime, here is how that favor has been repaid: [Washington Post article...]. What a wonderfully well managed foreign policy the United States has. What a magnificent governmental organization US citizens appear to have in the State Department, which has traded away their interests to curry favor with foreign governments such as the Republic of Cyprus whose president is a Communist and whose government is evidently at the disposal of Russian spymasters, whose approach to managing international relations apparently does not in any way correspond to what US citizens think of when the word "honorable" is mentioned.

And what a magnificent organization US archaeologists seem to have in the AIA, which after all that it and other archaeological institutions did to curry favor with the Baathist regime in Iraq - arguably the most evil and unprincipled since the Third Reich - subsequently did everything in its power to ensure that the Republic of Cyprus would get whatever it wanted from the US State Department.

There is a higher law than the cynical back room deals by which the State Department, at the behest of the AIA, double-crossed and betrayed the interests of US citizens interested in the licit collecting of minor antiquities such as ancient coins. There is a higher law than"archaeologie ueber alles" which seems to be the doctrinaire approach of the AIA in determining its attitude toward private collecting. It is time that this higher law is considered.

Perhaps it is also time for the US State Department to give some thought to how it is being perceived by the citizens of this great Republic, and for the AIA to consider whether it is really in the best interests of that organization to be associated with foreign governments such as the Baathist regime in Iraq and the Republic of Cyprus.

Phew. Creepy stuff, eh? That's a prime demonstration what prolongued contact with multiple examples of corroded coins from the soil does to the brain. "Currying favour with the worse-than-Nazis", eh? Allied with "Communists"? If Mr Welsh thinks that Iraq had "arguably the most evil and unprincipled [government] since the Third Reich" then what does he think of a government that actively co-operated with it in the years when Hussein was consolidating his power? That supplied it with weapons? Did Mr Welsh speak out US foreign policy in the early 1980s, or only when the war-hungry imperialist hyenas started wailing? There are many corrupt and unjust governments in the world, but ACCG dealers are perfectly willing to sell coins apparently from the territories of some of them I see.

Frankly, I think if the AIA or any of its members had any guts, they would get in touch with a decent lawyer and haul Welsh over the coals over his accusation that the Institute actively "curried favour" with the worse-than-Nazis. What form did this take? Have we video of Brian Rose shaking hands with the now-deposed ruler? Well, we have pictures of a prominent collector sitting smilingly next to the President of this Institute, obviously unperturbed by what Welsh alleges, presumably Shelby White's membership of the ACCG has been revoked.

As we read in the papers, the real reason why the Cypriots did not lock Mr Metzos up seems to be that the US bungled the arrests. The Department of Justice was slow in sending the requisite papers to Cyprus, even though they had been preparing for this for years. So it is nothing to do with the State Department, nothing to do with ancient coins, cultural property or any of the other issues the silly US coineys attempt to link this with.

Who is "betraying" "the interests of US citizens", those who persist in loudly shouting that US citizens all want to buy illegally exported coins, or those that quietly try to regulate the market to attempt to cut down the number of illegally exported coins that US dealers can import? Do US citizens as a whole want to buy stolen property or not? Do 310 million people want the ACCG to speak for their "interests", or would they, if they knew what the ACCG was up to, consider that this group of ranting no-questions-asked indicriminate peddlars of artefacts taken from the archaelogical heritage of other countries speaks for them?

It seems that not even all the collectors think that way. Here is the comment from Ancient Antiquities list of one Al Schlaf from Des Moines, IA:
As I read the original posting, I noted it got more whackadoodle as it went on. I frequent several current events/political fora and have seen the truly nut job rants of the Tea Party types, but this most definitely goes way beyond that, well nigh into the Roman Piso theory quackery. As my son would say, "Dude, just step away from the bong".
That just about sums up the intellectual level of the coiney rants. The coins clearly have the same deleterious effects on the thinking process as prolongued use of narcotics (parents of ACE-outreached kids please note).

Roman Piso ("The True Authorship of the New Testament"), for those who've never come across it is a classic literary genre in its own right, bet it was written by a collector of Roman coins.

1 comment:

FlaviusSextus said...

I can't believe that the ACCG gave this nutjob a meritorious service award. But I guess they're all a tad nutty.

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