Friday, 10 September 2010

In the Interests of All

This week's Looting Matters PR Newswire press release is on the Greek request to the US to restrict the influx of illegally exported ancient artefacts onto its market, it makes the case for supporting this initiative clearly and concisely. There are a couple of nice quotes, that by Sebastian Heath, Vice President for Professional Responsibilities of the Archaeological Institute of America in particular caught my eye. He quite rightly says:

"It is in the interests of all Americans to make sure that antiquities coming into the US are not being illegally exported. The proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will help ensure that importers provide reasonable levels of documentation to show how they obtained objects of the types that we know are being looted in Greece. This helps to preserve irreplaceable knowledge about the origins of our shared democratic principles and our shared cultural heritage. I am confident that the proposed MoU will benefit the Greek nation, the American public, as well as citizens of all countries who value knowledge about the past".
This of course raises the question who will benefit from the US NOT making sure that antiquities coming into the country have been legally exported. The people who want to stop these measures coming into force (137 naysaying coineys on the website) claim they want to buy illegally exported material ripped off from Greece out of an "interest in history". But they do not care about the sites trashed to produce the collectables they covet, the loss thereby of irreplaceable knowledge not only "about the origins of our shared democratic principles and our shared cultural heritage" but much more besides. Opposing the proposed MoU will only benefit the looters, the Philistines, the greedy and unprincipled. Thinking through the implications, opposing such a measure and thereby supporting the illicit antiquities trade should be abhorrent to the citizens of all and any countries who value knowledge about the past. Can we count in that rank the United States of America? Let us see.

1 comment:

Damien Huffer said...

It would be nice to think so...

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