Saturday, 30 August 2014

False Prophets in Washington Antiquities Lobby

A lobbyist for the no-questions-asked antiquities market was crowing back in December 26, 2012 that "SAFE No More?":
A reliable source indicates that Saving Antiquities for Everyone (SAFE) is effectively dead. While SAFE's website remains online, it has not really been updated for some time [...] I for one will not mourn the demise of SAFE. From the start, it was highly confrontational, and brought far more heat than light to cultural property issues.
Personally I would say that is a description perfectly fitting the grotesque blog of the author of those words. Peter Tompa does not produce texts presenting any substantive "observations" on cultural heritage issues, every single one of them is the sort of weasel-worded irritating provocation one might expect of an internet troll, and moreover he represents not one, but two international dealers' associations. The non-profit SAFE meanwhile goes from strength to strength, due to the dedication, commitment and initiative of its staff and volunteers. While strident jackasses in the US antiquities trade with their specious arguments and self-centred attitudes are among those who persist in damaging the image of America in the eyes of the outside world, organizations like SAFE are assets to US cultural diplomacy.  (I know the US Department of State reads this, how about some kind of award for them in a couple of years?). Thank you Cindy Ho for giving us all something of inestimable value.

And that is the reason why the US lobbyists for the shadowy no-questions-asked market in antiquities would be happy to see the back of them with their reasoned arguments in opposition to their confrontational nonsense.  I have every confidence that SAFE and the enlightened attitudes it represents are here to stay.

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