[Ancientartifacts] Re: De Montebello responds

"Paul Barford" <pbarford@...> wrote:
> Dave Welsh reckons I have "improperly abstracted a comment that
absolutely must be taken in context."
> Nothing "improper" in assuming that all readers who actually read
what you posted here fully understand its CONTEXT.

Your subsequent remarks did not, however, suggest that you had
understood its context.

> The issue of the return of cultural property that had been exported
from its territory of origin prior to the adoption of the 1970 UNESCO
Convention has indeed an ethical and moral dimension besides the legal
one ...

However, the concluding paragraph of Dr. Opoku's remarks referred to
compelling possessors of pre-Unidroit cultural objects to return them
through legal action. Thus, the operative means being discussed
involved legal compulsion.

> which dealers like yourself continually return to.

One does not have to be involved in the antiquities trade to realize
that pressuring those who hold valid legal title to an object to turn
it over to another party, based on an "ethical and moral dimension"
that is very far from universally accepted, is not likely to be well


> I do not see what the Roman Catholic Church has to do with ANY of
this, or Italy.

That's because you are not thinking in terms of the actual legal
processes that must be followed to compel possessors of objects to
relinquish them. These processes normally require that the same
standards be applied to everyone. Thus, governments and churches and
universities and foundations would be just as liable to being sued for
restitution as individuals.

> I think you are raising deliberately ridiculous paper tiger
arguments here, which is nothing like what is actually being discussed...

I am attempting to bring a bit of realism and common sense into the
discussion. You are, of course, correct in observing that this perhaps
forlorn hope is "nothing like what is actually being discussed," in
Dr. Opoku's remarks or your own for instance.

Dave Welsh
Unidroit-L Listowner


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