Tuesday 1 February 2011

"Sadly Warped and Grossly Ignorant Perspective"

Californian coin dealer Dave Welsh just does not know when to stop. After his "Barford the ignoramus" post we now find another, It's all the fault of collectors
In the sadly warped and grossly ignorant perspective of anticollecting extremists such as Paul Barford, events such as those now unfolding in Egypt can be ascribed to an insatiable hunger on the part of Western collectors for antiquities, in this case Egyptian in origin. In reality there is indeed an insatiable hunger, in Egypt and elsewhere, however it is not any such imaginary ravenous collector appetite for antiquities, but instead an intense desire to participate in the modern world and its economy on terms which the outlook of Barford and his ilk view as inappropriate for "third world" nations and their downtrodden, oppressed and impoverished citizens.

There is no textual authority cited for what "Barford and his ilk" are alleged to think. I rather think it is the exploitive collectors and dealers who throughout their rhetoric reveal the basest of colonial views and western paternalism. The theme that (US) collectors and dealers can "look after the culture better" than the natives of the source countries runs right through everything they write to justify the no-questions-asked trade in artefacts from foreign lands. It lies at the basis of the "Witschonke Argument". It is Welsh and his clients who espouse the White-Man's-Burden point of view, not those of us who think the material should stay in the "source countries" for future generations of the citizens of those countries to use (or not) free of the interference of rapacious foreigners who want to make a profit by selling it off, shielding their motives behind false arguments invoking "freedom" and "intercultural understanding".

Frankly, I see very little actual deep understanding of the problems currently facing the Egyptian people and state in what use collectors and dealers are making of these events to advance their cause.

Still, perhaps many of them watch FoxNews which informs their views on the place of Egypt in the modern world.

Of course I did not say that the civil unrest in Egypt broke out because of western collectors. If he believes I wrote that, Welsh must have a lot more problems in 'joining the dots' than I thought.

Vignette: The American people has an oppression issue skeleton in its own cupboard. Get the Native American stuff out of "Natural History Museums"; the ancient cultures of America are not shellfish!


Anonymous said...

"it is not any such imaginary ravenous collector appetite for antiquities, but instead an intense desire to participate in the modern world"


The first casualty of war, eh?

Has anyone ever looted any antiquity, ever, without an "intense desire" to sell it to a dealer?


Paul Barford said...

Well, some collectors try to eat them


Anonymous said...

IMO the discussion has been deliberately represented as complex when in fact it's terribly simple:

The looting that is going on in Egypt right now is in order to supply willing dealers in rich countries. Which part of that can be honestly denied?

The sooner every TV report showing the plundering explains to the viewers that they are witnessing the first stage of unscrupulous and/or uncaring dealing and collecting by oh-so-respectable westerners the better.

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