Saturday, 1 October 2016

What is in The US Diplomats' Bags?

The Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide (AAFSW) 'supports the American diplomatic community'. One of the ways they do that is help them to flog off any spare cultural property they've managed to - ahem - 'liberate' from the brown-skinned guys... It sounds so innocent until a few sentences in:
Starting with a “Book Mart” in October, 1961, AAFSW has held a book sale every year at the State Department. This October, the Art and BookFair will once again offer books and treasures from all over the world. Our donors from the Foreign Service community have lived everywhere, and customers come to this sale knowing that they can find truly unique international items. This sale has raised $55,000 to $100,000 annually. Over the years that has added up to more than a million dollars. [....] AAFSW itself depends on the income from the Art and BookFair to function [...] Donate items from your home, especially objects acquired overseas. We take art, textiles, jewelry, pottery, wooden carved creations, paintings, stamps, paper money, coins — anything from the countries that you have visited or posts in which you have lived. Small items can be sent in the mail, but we also pick up donations in the Washington, DC area. Remind your friends and co-workers to do the same, especially those who are retiring, downsizing or moving. [...] If you have expertise in local art from a particular region of the world, such as South America, or knowledge of languages, we could really use help in pricing books and artifacts.
There is no mention of what kind of 'artifacts' they will not take, or any kind of documentation to show the 'volunteers' that proper export procedure has been followed. After all, is that not what the Diplomatic Bag is for?

We recall the Spengler Collection.
 Vignette: American imperialism

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