[Ancientartifacts] Re: De Montebello responds

--- In Ancientartifacts@yahoogroups.com, "Paul Barford" <pbarford@...>
> Dave Welsh retorts:
> I note you have not responded in any way to the other comments I
also made about DM's idea that if its not behind the glass of his
museum, nobody would know about a past culture - nor how "universal"
that collection actually is in terms of the ancient cultures of the
part of the continent that museum is situated. This too is part of the
context of the discussion of neo-colonialist ideologies (here US ones)
dressed as "universalism".
You have made a great many comments, not all of which address
questions of interest to me. I have responded only to those that I
consider to be pertinent to my areas of interest. It is not my purpose
or desire to debate all of your remarks.
> >> 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. <
> Well, you've not gone any further to enlightening any of us what on
earth you are on about. Especially your implied relationship between
the government of Italy and the Holy See. Or the Roman Empire for that
Evidently to enlighten you, it is necessary to spell this out in exact
detail. I shall now do so.
What I am about is to make the point that if pre-Unidroit exported
cultural objects are to be considered as legally the property of the
states within whose territory they originated, that becomes the status
of ALL such objects, not merely selected ones. It includes any object
anywhere in the world whose export can be proven.
This affects the government of Italy inasmuch as it is legally
responsible for what happens in Italy, and has the task of enforcing
return of cultural objects, including those in its own custody.
It likewise affects the Roman Catholic Church because that institution
possesses immense numbers of cultural objects which were so exported.
It likewise applies to all objects brought to Italy by the Roman
Empire, because they were thereby exported from their territory of
origin outside Italy.
The above are relevant issues, because it is inherently extremely
undesirable for the legal title to an object of value to be left in
suspense pending a possible legal action that may never, and probably
will never, occur.
If you can't visualize the importance of that, just imagine what life
would be like if no one could get clear title to a house, because some
Indian tribe might one day sue to take possession, since that the land
had once been part of their ancestral hunting grounds.
> Far from "attempting to bring a bit of realism and common sense into
the discussion", it seems to me that you are merely trying to deflect
it by raising ridiculous speculations as if this is what the
repatriation lobby is actually arguing.
You are not giving proper consideration to the real issue, which is
not what the repatriation lobby is actually arguing, but what could
happen if they won the argument.
Many important concerns have not been taken into consideration, and it
really is a matter of bringing "realism and common sense into the
discussion" to point out that laws often have side effects that are
unintended by their proponents, and which (in a responsible society)
should be very carefully studied and thought about before the laws are
To pursue that point, I will now repeat an earlier remark: "When does
it end?" and "Where do we draw the line?" are very valid and pertinent
questions. Ignoring them in development of public policy regarding
cultural property would neglect very grave risks that the "cure" might
turn out to be far worse than the "disease."
Dave Welsh
Unidroit-L Listowner


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