Saturday 19 May 2012

Supremacist Sentiments in US Cultural Property "Observancy"?

According to "Cultural Property Observer" 'Archaeo-Blogger Advocates Repatriating Jewish Bible to War Torn Syria?' May 18th 2012:
Barford apparently thinks the Aleppo Codex would have been better off left in Syria, even though the Syrian Government has persecuted Syria’s Jewish culture virtually out of existence, and now Aleppo itself is under threat. 
Do I? Is that what I say? I rather think my comment was about illegal removal rather than ("Advocates repatriating") sending what is left of this document back. Mr Tompa's main point is that in 1958 the Codex was:
in the clutches of the anti-Semitic Baathist regime in Syria, which [...] is now [ie 54 years later - PMB] involved in a civil war against its own people.
It would seem Mr Tompa is advocating keeping cultural property outside areas threatened by civil strife, so the brown skinned folk of Nigeria should forfeit the Benin bronzes because it had a civil war, now the brown skinned inhabitants of Syria should be relieved of cultural property because it is having one. Egypt does not deserve to have its cultural property protected according to Mr Tompa since the brown skinned folk over there cannot look after it properly.  Likewise the olive skinned Greeks according to his pal Dealer Dave.  Both Tompa and  Dealer Alfredo de la Fe think more dusky skinned Europeans, the Turks, should have their cultural property  taken away by US art centres because they build dams. I see no such mention of the cultural heritage of the Finns, Norwegians, Danes, Wends, Welts or Kashubs on Mr Tompa's blog.  The pattern that emerges here begins to look like the rantings of US White Supremacists in some nightmarish Welthaupstadt.

Mr Tompa does not seem to think war will come to US ally Israel. On that one, time will tell, I hope he's right, but if he is not and the nation is attacked, on his previous record it seems Mr Tompa would advocate the removal of all cultural property, including the Aleppo Codex, from the state to the clutches of US collectors where, I am sure he and his fellows would argue in all seriousness "the artifact is better off".  

And what happens when, as it inevitably will, sooner or later, that the US itself is threatened by internal - maybe ethnic - strife and maybe external attack? Will then the US give up all the cultural property it has been gathering in its collections over the past two centuries without a murmur? To let the objects go where  "the artifact is better off"?  And where might that be?
[Mr Tompa complains that his comment on my blog was not moderated immediately "I uploaded this comment in response on his blog, but he has not had the courtesy to post it". Well, I trust that now it is, he will have the "courtesy" to answer the question at the end of my reply.]


Cultural Property Observer said...

Now you are race baiting? Give me a break. It has nothing to do with the color of one's skin. It does have to do with where the artifacts in question are best cared for and pointing out that hypocricy exists from those demanding repatriation.

But if race were a consideration, why shouldn't Italian Americans or Chinese Americans get the same access to cultural artifacts of their own cultures that Italians and Chinese do? They can import these artifacts with none of the restrictions now put in place on their American cousins, all courtesy of cultural bureaucracies and the archaeological community.

Paul Barford said...

"Now you are race baiting? Give me a break. It has nothing to do with the color of one's skin."

Not "baiting" but observing. There is a very clear pattern in your blogging over the past few years in what you choose to write about, and what you ignore. Your writing exposes your narrow world view totally. You constantly attack and denigrate the citizens and governments of non-white "source countries". Do not ancient coins also come from countries with today "white" inhabitants? Where is that reflected in your blog?

Perhaps if you were not shut up in your Amerocentrism, you'd be more able to step back and see how those outside looking in see the attitudes which you and your fellow dealers and collectors betray. Perhaps you'd like to reflect on just how you lot come over to those of us outside. You and your fellow collectors do nothing to disprove in any way the dominant stereotype that we have over here in Europe of "the Americans". US dealers and collectors active in blogs and forums fit it to a tee with your chauvinistic, xenophobic, exclusionist rantings and folksy 'justifications'.

So the Turks built a dam? So what? What nation with water running across its surface and energy needs does not? America has them, Poland has them, the UK too. Egypt has an Aswan dam (flooded not a few sites), Israel has them.

Look who is the one "baiting", and don't try to change the subject.

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