Saturday 14 January 2017

What is there for US Collectors not to Understand?

As a reaction to the Associated Press story: 'Europe Wants More Protection Against Antiquities Trafficking' (Jan 13th 2017) a blinkered lobbyist for the antiquities trade smugly snipes:
Peter Tompa ‏@Aurelius161180 10 godzin temu@DrDonnaYates @nytimes
"Human rights" organization wants to "repatriate" to repressive Assad regime that has killed, looted and destroyed? 
First of all, the Council of Europe in Strasbourg is concerned with what is happening to the portable heritage of foreign citizens from a wider area than just Syria....

Secondly, it really is frustrating that US dealers, collectors and lobbyists predominantly represent the issue of illicit antiquities trafficking as merely the issue of 'repatriation'. The CoE is urging measure to curb illicit trafficking to and within the EU, not for filling foreign museums with grey and black market decontextualised artefacts. That seems pretty simple to grasp, doesn't it?
Paul Barford ‏@PortantIssues 7 godzin temu @Aurelius161180 @DrDonnaYates @nytimes
Stopping the trade means stopping the trade (not 'allowing the trade and then sending stuff back').
and also:
Paul Barford ‏@PortantIssues @Aurelius161180 @DrDonnaYates @nytimes
What is there not to understand? Why many Americans see antiquities matters ONLY as "repatriation"?
I believe my cat understands that, but those of more limited intellectual horizons may be struggling with the concepts behind the words. Mr Tompa for example completely misses the point and responds:
Peter Tompa ‏@Aurelius161180 4 godziny temu@PortantIssues @DrDonnaYates @nytimes
Concern items repatriated to Assad just because they look Syrian. US Sen. Understood. You don't.
Well if unconcerned dealers and their 'business partners' are throwing away the documentation indicating origins, other forms of evidence have to be employed if authorities don't want to hang on to illegal items in store for ever. Perhaps Mr Tompa thinks the US government should employ waterboarding and kidnapping of family members to deal with silent dealers? As I say, my cat understands, Peter Tompa suggests that it is I who do not grasp what the CoE has in mind when it talks of curbing the trade in illicit antiquities. Perhaps a clearer analogy will help:
Paul Barford ‏@PortantIssues 1 godzinę temu@Aurelius161180 @DrDonnaYates @nytimes
Really? There is more to 'stopping child rape' than 'making sure victims get home safely afterwards'.
and again:
Paul Barford ‏@PortantIssues 1 godzinę temu@Aurelius161180 @DrDonnaYates @nytimes
Why do so many Americans represent illicit antiquities matters ONLY as "repatriation"?

beats me.  My cat is also puzzled.

Vignette: Fortunately, unlike dullard antiquitists, not everybody has a problem understanding what the words 'putting a brake on trafficking' mean. But action not words is what is needed.


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