Tuesday 28 April 2015

Cultural Cleansing CCP Style

Over in the US, H.R.1493 - Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act is undergoing discussion. It envisages setting up a Department of State committee (separate from the one that implements the 1970 UNESCO Convention) to co-ordinate and promote the activities of the United States for International Cultural Property Protection and establish the Smithsonian as an adjunct to such efforts. Among others, this has got the dealer's lobby group the so-called 'Committee for Cultural Policy', riled, they do not want to see any measures more effective than those imposed by the existing legislation from the 1980s. So they are pestering the House Foreign Relations over it. They say they want to see "legislation that will give priority to preservation of art and artifacts over repatriation" (and of course keep it all in the USA):
Blind application of these remedies may well lead to such miscarriages of justice as the seizure of Jewish [...] religious artifacts from refugees and return of that property to the very instigators of their persecution.
So, they envisage all this stuff being smuggled out of the source countries and into private collections and museums in the USA, leaving the source country museums without. The attitudes of the CCP is nothing more than a disguised form of cultural cleansing masked as a concern for the global (read: "our") heritage. Read their arguments here.

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