Friday, 16 June 2017

Complete Misunderstanding from Dealers' Representative

The US-based representative of international dealers' associations quite clearly does not understand the intent of the 1970 UNESCO Convention and the legislation implementing it in the US (Peter Tompa: 'Problematic MOU Request', CPO Friday, June 16, 2017). His reaction to the fact that a war-torn country has asked the US for help  to prevent the passage of smuggled items of cultural roperty onto the open and highly absorbent US market :
It remains to be seen how a country with two competing governments, that is over-run by militias and which remains in danger from ISIS can meet its obligations under UNESCO and the CPIA to protect and preserve is own cultural property let alone that which may be repatriated from the US under the terms of any agreement.  
 What a tosser. This request is precisely in order to gain help in protecting its endangered cultural property from the US. The USA is one of the few countries which signs the 1970 Convention and then requires other states party to individually ask before it will lift a finger to actually put into action what signing the Convention actually would oblige a less-hypocritical nation to do automatically - that's the point of having the blooming thiung in the first place. Libya is in no way governed by the USA, and what the CCPIA 'obliges' it to do is neither here notr there. Just who doe these Trumpists in Washington think they are? The very idea!

Once again we see the low-brow superficiality in teh antiquitiest' lobby who see everything merely in terms of 'repatriation'. What we are talking about Mr Tompa is preventing smuiggling, by dodgy exporters selling smuggled items to equally dodgy US dealers. Are you and the dealers' associations you represent (at last count IAPN, PNG and ACCG) supporting the dodgies? Are you supporting the dodgies?
 It remains to be seen ..
what? By whom? They have asked for help because they need help.
 that help should be focused on protecting its world class archaeological sites from the depredations of ISIS and other radical Islamic groups. Turning US Customs loose to seize and forfeit "undocumented" "Libyan" artifacts will only harm legitimate trade and the appreciation for Libya's ancient cultures.  It certainly won't help protect Libyan archaeological sites and museums from their greatest threat, which is hammer and explosive wielding religious fanatics.
I'd say all and any help should be focussed on all the issues, and not merely the ones that do not hurt US "trade" in artefacts from the region. There is no reason for scare quotes when referring to documentation. The CCPIA lays out quite clearly what documents are required for an object to leave Libya and enter the legitimate US market (that is the bit that is legitimate and acknowledges art. 3 of the 1970 UNESCO Convention and uses documentation to verify legitimacy). But the scare quotes by the representative of the IAPN, PNG and ACCG again suggest support of the dodgies .  Let\s leave US 'appreciation of Libya's ancient culture' (sic) to those who handle objects with documenatble legitimacy. The cowboys and pirates have no claims to legitimacy.

Was not the US fighting a war on the hammer and explosive wielding religious fanatics? How's it going? Stopped any yet - or is this post by one of the supporters of those efforts an admission that throughh total incapacity of the present administration, the problem is still spreading? And by what US law, in fact are ' hammer and explosive wielding religious fanatics' in foreu=ign (sovereign) countries stopped by US agency? I would like to know.

In the meanwhile, regardless of the protests, moans and false arguments/misdirections of the dealers' associations, let us do all we can to stop artefacts looted, stolen or otherwise illicitly obtained by dodgy dealers and middlemen in the MENA region from being exchanged for US dollars paid out by dodgy dealers and middlemen in the USA. That would be a start. 

I would say it is an indicator of legitimacy of dealers whether they wholeheartedly support (and include in their own business practice) such measures, or whether they fight them.

And by the way ... coins ARE both archaeological artefacts as well as significant cultural property - that's before Tompa starts his traditional weasel-worded campaings of trying to rile compliant coineys to comment-bomb the US Department of State in the public consultation phase of any CCPIA deliberations. Watch this space for some coiney-comedy.

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