Wednesday 14 April 2010

SAFE: Say yes to Italy

SAFE has an attractively produced webpage up called "Say YES to Italy" concerning the renewal of the 2001 bilateral agreement that imposes import restrictions on Italian antiquities entering the U.S. An extremely significant statistic is that "according to statistics from the Italian Carabinieri-Tutela Patrimonio Cuturale (TPC), archaeological artifacts recovered that were taken from clandestine digs have declined 90% since the signing of the bilateral agreement" which perhaps indicates the leading role the US market had played in the promotion of such damaging exploitation of sites in the previous decade. The signing of this agreement has shown America's commitment not only to protecting an important part of our world heritage but also exhibiting moral leadership in this regard.

The SAFE page has five sections, all short and to the point:
What did the 2001 Italy-U.S. agreement call for?
The bilateral agreement has proven effective
Yet looting continues
Italy leads in cultural heritage protection
The public supports Italy's request
The latter contains extracts from almost 1,000 petitions gathered from the SAFE's Say YES to Italy campaign, showing part of the public support for Italy's efforts to protect its archaeological heritage from looting as a mine for collectables for the international market. Phyllis Halterman, New York, NY says: "It would be yet another sign of America's moral decline if we fail to honor Italy and help preserve her extraordinary heritage.” She has obviously never visited any of the forums of ancient dugup artefact collectors where we see the effects of that moral decline most markedly. The sidebar also contains the testimonials already sent to CPAC by SAFE members which readers can examine while considering what they should write.

Obviously SAFE does not need to try to hide its motives from the Italian public. Unlike the ACCG page, therefore, this one has a text in Italian.

Vignette: "Reconstructed" (yeah, right) Etruscan tomb interior in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen. Photo: Troels Kristensen.

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