Sunday 11 April 2010

Journal of "Ancient Numismatics" Blog recently: Barford this, Barford that, and a bit of Glenn Beck...

Over on his Journal of Ancient Numismatics blog, former Cuban fish salesman and now ancient coin dealer Alfredo de La Fe seems to have run out of things to say about ancient coins and how neat collecting them can be. Instead there are a series of snippets of personal news interspersed with personal comments on Nathan Elkins and myself, "Anti-collector pro-nationalist lobby", "Extreme views", Barfordian logic, "A Call for Reason and Logic" and now we have "Shades of Grey" (sic). Like Peter Tompa, the guy also has a noticeable fixation with things Jewish so interspersed with these four above-mentioned posts is Fantastical (sic) claim of “Joseph-era” coins being found in Egypt by Archaeologists.

He is however less concerned about letting people learn the views of those who he regards as his opponents (I only want to see responsible antiquities collecting, what does a dealer like De La Fe want to see?). So it is that when I sent a comment to his "Shades of grey" post which happens to be more about me rather than anything I have said about ancient coins he of course declined to post it. So I'll have to post it here (good job I made a copy, just in case, eh?).

So in his post "shades of grey", the frustrated coin dealer moans:
I am wasting my time when I attempt to reason with the fringe elements of the anti-collector/property rights movement in archaeology. Paul Barford is a perfect example. It seems that his extreme views when it comes to collecting ancient artifacts are not his only extreme views. In a comment posted on Dorthy Kings blog he [...]
Extreme? He is taking my comment out of context. Making black and white from grey. I invite the reader of his remarks to study carefully what "Wannabe Jewess" Dorothy King was saying - on what she was actually basing her label of "Nazis". Now that seems more than extreme to me. King expressed an extremist view based on some propagandist news stories she'd seen in the Jewish press, but had not fully checked the background of or put her brain in gear, before blogging some anti-Egyptian nonsense. In the comments to her post I suggested taking a more rational and balanced look at what she was saying there. If that means that I am labelled "anti-semite" by the anti-rationalist and unbalanced who side with such extreme views as Ms King's, the likes of Alfredo De La Fe, then so be it.

I think though that most people will note that the question I raised of what a rebuilt redundant synagogue should be used for in the capital of Moslem Egypt (when Cairo has a population of 40 Jews, mostly old women, who already have an active synagogue) was not resolved by Ms King, who simply ignored the question. For her, the suggestion to see this in the context of the modern use of other buildings of former religious function, like hundreds of redundant churches in England, was for some reason incomprehensible. There is in reality no difference, just because one is a Jewish building rebuilt from ruin and the others are Christian places of worship. The Cairo building will become a flagship museum of Jewish culture emphasising the role of the former Jewish community to the cultural life of Cairo, but Ms King (and Mr Tompa it would seem) thinks this is the idea of a "Nazi". Wholly Illogical.

Mr De La Fe lays into me that I allegedly take the Jewish reaction to news from Egypt as symptomatic of the attitudes of a whole people. Firstly that is not the case, I mentioned that the people complaining that they are not getting the treatment they "deserve" are themselves those who inspire the reactions they observe by their own attitudes. My comment was addressed (with a mention of the post of hers I was remarking upon) to the owner of the blog rather than a whole people. (Mr De La Fe, seems not to be aware that neither Jewish nor Spanish are "races".)

De La Fe also castigates me for something I said about his saying he was "Spanish" so that means the entire Roman Empire is his own special heritage in my post "My Especial Heritage" (which, just to make sure that people cannot actually check the context of the remarks he isolates, he of course in typical coiney fashion gives no link to my blog - it is here). This was hardly, as he put it, an "attack" - just a relevant comment on what I had read being said by several people (not just Mr De La Fe). I was of course not talking about people IN source countries, I was addressing the weak arguments used by outsiders to justify laying hands on it as "theirs too"/ "theirs especially".

In reply to his other comments, the CPIA and resultant MOUs are not "unfair and burdensome" laws. They are the type of regulations which other importers comply with without a murmur and without setting up mail bombardment campaigns of the State Department. The "fundamental American rights being violated on US soil" Mr De La Fe is talking about is the perceived right to purchase artefacts which are not demonstrably from a legal source? In how many other business could a dealer write such stuff in public and not be afraid of losing custom? But then in how many other businesses are there so many individuals involved who apparently relish the prospect of being associated with such sentiments?

The rest is pure Glenn Beck:

We are talking about fundamental American rights being violated on US soil and the giving of near absolute power to a government agency leaving the possibility of abuse wide open as well as laws which are open to the interpretation of an ICE agent that will most likely receive his or her training from one of the radical archaeology organizations that see stolen property everywhere and believe that no one but the annointed few in their sacred guild can even consider possessing an ancient coin.

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