Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Anti-Collectors Taking Advantage of a Bad Situation in Syria?

The hard-line archaeological advocacy group Saving Antiquities for Everyone and related groups are taking advantage of the current bad situation in Syria to further their anti-collecting agenda. They have been applauding the UK's new regulations aimed at banning the import of Syrian artifacts and are urging that the US impose similar restrictions on American collectors. Any such restrictions will once again put many minor artifacts at risk for forfeiture though there is no evidence they are the products of recent looting.
And what of the CPIA's process for imposing import restrictions?  Any emergency request must come from the Assad government, not SAFE or the Archaeological Institute of America.  But if there is a valid request that is granted, should any artifacts that are forfeited go back to that murderous regime or should they instead be held in trust by US Institutions for the benefit of the Syrian people until such time the country is again at peace?  Presumably, if recent history is any guide, the repatriationist instincts of SAFE and related groups will demand the return of such artifacts to Assad now, no matter the facts on the ground or the equities of the situation.  But, if so, they won't that only confirm that their ideology is more important than fairness or common sense?
For more, see Peter Tompa's CPO, 'Taking Advantage of a Bad Situation' Wednesday, August 27, 2014

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