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Author Topic: Time to Speak Out  (Read 55620 times)
Paleologo
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« Reply #25 on: April 12, 2010, 07:52:29 am »

Nationalist countries have come to realize that they can control the cultural sphere by controlling the archaeologists.

Excuse me? Is this a quote straight from "1984"? I wonder what does it exactly mean that Italy is a "nationalist country"? A nationalist government? A nationalist people? I think Mr Berlusconi recently clearly expressed his pride about Italy being "the most American of all European countries" (whatever this means). And, by the way, he is certainly much more interested in controlling public opinion by controlling media. He couldn't care less about the cultural sphere and the archeologists. Seriously. And, if we come to people being nationalistic, I have read several comments here that could hardly be defined as cosmopolitic, so who's being nationalist? I guess "nationalist" in the above quote should be understood as something like "rapacious and narrow-minded". As such, I agree it is quite bizarre and also vaguely insulting.
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« Reply #26 on: April 12, 2010, 08:00:43 am »

Also correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it correct to say that in general the people living in Italy at the present are not even ethnically related to the original Italians of the classical period?  As I understand it the wars of Justinian, the Lombard invasions, and various other occupations over the centuries pretty much wiped out the original Italians

No, this is not correct. All the occupations you mention were carried out by groups of thousands, maybe tens of thousands people, who would take over political rule through military domination without really merging into the local population. Because if they did, they would be wiped out, ethnically and culturally speaking. To give you an example, both the DNA and the phenotype of present day inhabitants of rural Tuscany can be traced back straight to ancient Etruscans (Cavalli Sforza et al.). Making a claim to unique national ownership of cultural objects is ridiculous from various points of view, but this is not among them.

I can understand American coin collectors are angry at what they perceive as a limitation to their rights. I DON'T understand why this debate should be turned into a political issue of Europe vs. America or the like. Up to now it's been a pleasure and a honor for me to interact with a lot of kind and competent people from all over the world at this site, I would be sad and disappointed if I had to change my mind.
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« Reply #27 on: April 12, 2010, 08:14:04 am »

Joe,

I thought your last post was a little unfair.

(1)  Although I work and reside in the UK, I am a citizen of the USA and I have an absolute right to comment on the (proposed) actions of my government.

(2) I agree completely that it would be improper to impose restrictions on imports to the USA unless similar restrictions were in force within the EU. If the US State Department goes for import controls, I promise to advocate strongly and publicly that the same rules should apply to the UK and the rest of the EU.

(3) I don’t actually think I expressed support for the MOU. I certainly have not (yet) sent any fax to the State Department, either for or against. What I wanted was to hear the case against made more convincingly, because the arguments do not seem so clear-cut to me as to you.

Having got all that off my chest, I apologise sincerely if I have offended you. I will, of course, not post again on this topic.

Bill R   
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« Reply #28 on: April 12, 2010, 08:28:00 am »

The real problem with enforcement of this MOU would be a presumption of guilt and loss of property rights.  If the ban was limited to coins that Italy could prove were stolen from their soil since 1972, that would actually be OK with me.  But that is not the case, the assumption is that coins have been stolen unless importer can prove they were not stolen.  

Imagine someone coming into your house and saying you need to provide receipts for your property or the government will assume it is stolen, take it away and give it to the country of manufacture.  OK, so this may never apply to your toaster, but the rights of ownership are the same for your toaster and your coins.  According to some stories (rumors?), some coin collectors (in Italy) and some dealers (in the U.S.!) have already had coins confiscated because they could not prove they were not stolen.   Is it impossible to imagine the small step from enforcement at the borders to enforcement within the borders.  

This is a very serious loss of rights.  

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« Reply #29 on: April 12, 2010, 09:14:25 am »

Joe,  I thought your last post was a little unfair...

I agree, as a U.S. citizen you do have much more of a say.  You indicate you have not made up your mind and you have questions.  But your posts are not looking for answers, they support the MOU.  I am sure there are plenty of places to debate and learn about this issue, most of which are going to be run by supporters of the MOU.  This is not the place for debate.  This is the place for opposition. 

Here are some main points against the ban...

Banning imports to the U.S. will not stop or even reduce looting.  Even banning all trade will not stop all looting.  People also hunt treasure just for fun. 

A ban should be in place in the EU BEFORE they ask the U.S. to place a ban. 

It will be impossible to have any sort of effective ban without a presumption of guilt.  There are millions of ancient coins from Italy above ground now.  The percentage that are have documentation that proves they were not taken from the ground in Italy since 1972 is near zero.   It is impossible to distinguish between looted coins and coins that have been in collections for decades or centuries.  It is impossible to distinguish between coins that were found in Italy and coins that were found in other countries. 

Note I used the words "effective ban" above but, to be clear, I mean effective against imports, not against looting.  Even an "effective ban" would have almost no impact at all against looting. 

A presumption of guilt and a loss of property rights is not an appropriate way to achieve any goal.  We need to fight to maintain our rights. 

Even if we agree with the goal of preventing looting, and I think most collectors do, the MOU (1) will not work, (2) is a serious violation of property rights and (3) is a disturbing violation of the presumption of innocence.
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« Reply #30 on: April 12, 2010, 10:08:57 am »

Well, that's pretty cool about the Etruscans.  Thank you for setting that part straight, Paleologo.  Like I said, this whole mess isn't your fault.  My presumption was probably more correct in southern Italy/Sicily, but I'm glad to learn something new.  The Italian government's claim to own everything is still full of beans nonetheless, though.

At the end of the day, the blame would rest more on the American government for selling us out (I love the quote by Chamberlain's critics - it at first you don't concede... that would apply to this situation if they agree to the premise.  Italy isn't holding a gun to their head to agree to it.  No one can blame the good people of Italy for something the government does any more than they can blame me for something boneheaded my government does.

I pretty much agree with Joe, mega-dittos.

None of these restrictions would help looting much.  It's always going to happen.  Drive something underground and it just becomes more attractive; American Prohibition, etc. etc.  Draconian laws haven't prevented a burgeoning Italian antiquities black market either.

The big-ticket antiquities are so darn expensive (if a face is $10,000+, imagine what the whole statue is), it will always be attractive for someone to loot them.
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« Reply #31 on: April 12, 2010, 10:24:02 am »

I really hate essays but I still sent a short fax, after all it is all about getting together a large number of collectors.
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« Reply #32 on: April 12, 2010, 01:36:51 pm »

As a Canadian,  this will seriously affect my collecting too since 90% of my coins are purchased in the US.

Any Ideal what Canadian collectors can do to help with this ?  would a fax to the recipient above stating the impact and loss of sales from american buisness to canadian consumers help be accepted coming from another country ?

or is there any other recourse anyone could recommend?


please advise
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« Reply #33 on: April 12, 2010, 01:56:58 pm »

I received several newsletters about this and repeatedly read that non-US citicens were welcome to send a fax as well.

Andreas
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« Reply #34 on: April 12, 2010, 02:06:10 pm »

Thanks Areich

will send one out shortly. 

I must protect my supply line  Smiley
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« Reply #35 on: April 12, 2010, 02:17:47 pm »

Fax sent.
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« Reply #36 on: April 12, 2010, 02:49:22 pm »

You are under the mistaken impression that it is OK for you, who does not live in the U.S., to express your support here for this bizarre MOU, which does not impact you.  It is not. 

Following Joe's comment, and taking them to their logical conclusion, s I assume that I, who live in the UK have no reason to support, or rally, against the proposed MOU, which does not impact me directly.

Well sorry to annoy you Joe, but despite your comment I will still be registering my opposition for the MOU regardless of any direct impact on me, or my lack of being a U.S. citizen. ( Tongue )
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« Reply #37 on: April 12, 2010, 07:52:05 pm »

Fax sent too  Smiley


I don't want the US restricted in these ways,  all My favorite dealers are Americans

Here's to hoping these faxes work
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« Reply #38 on: April 12, 2010, 08:07:16 pm »

You are under the mistaken impression that it is OK for you, who does not live in the U.S., to express your support here for this bizarre MOU, which does not impact you.  It is not. 
Following Joe's comment, and taking them to their logical conclusion, s I assume that I, who live in the UK have no reason to support, or rally, against the proposed MOU, which does not impact me directly.

Really, you think that is taking what I said to its logical conclusion?  Or is that a joke?
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« Reply #39 on: April 13, 2010, 02:21:09 am »

Joe, I thought that the smiley may have given that away, but I can see why humour in this subject may be hard to find.  After all, if this ridiculous MOU gets through then it could/would really make your business more costly to run and hurt profits.  I have done my bit to stand up against that.
regards
Mark
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« Reply #40 on: April 13, 2010, 04:37:34 am »

While I am Australian I have sent a fax arguing that decisions by the US government have global implications -other jurisdictions may well follow if the US thinks such moves a good idea. The fax also runs through the usual arguments mentioned by others here about unintended consequences arising from State regulations that impede the flow of markets especially the encouragement of forgery (like we need that!) , black markets and support for crime.

This is in part a long running argument about what constitutes a nation's cultural property- is it only significant works of art or does it extend all the way down to minor coins and pot fragments? Nationalists with strong  ideas of cultural property and archaelogists wishing to preserve sites have a commonalty of interest here. I can't see any such regulations being  imposed in the EU though - not while the Poms still have the Elgin marbles!

Anyway best wishes in your fight. I assume the next step will be your Congressional representatives.





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« Reply #41 on: April 13, 2010, 04:47:43 pm »

Sent mine today. If you haven't already sent yours, please do so - every little bit helps.
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« Reply #42 on: April 13, 2010, 09:28:34 pm »

I sent a fax in yesterday - hope it will help even a little bit.
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« Reply #43 on: April 14, 2010, 06:51:45 am »

This MOU is being under consideration by civil servants.  It really isn't a partisan issue.  This has nothing to do with political parties.  People in the state department, who come from both parties, in general probably want to support the requests of foreign governments in the interests of better relations.  Unless we can convey that this is a real and serious issue, they likely will support Italy's request. 

Modern politics is prohibited on this discussion board.  As others have noted, some of the comments above (which I will probably delete right now) have crossed the line.  Anything that implies support for or against any current political party, the current administration and anyone running for office is specifically prohibited. 


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« Reply #44 on: April 14, 2010, 12:18:55 pm »

I'm not going to apologise for commenting on this when I'm not from the US. This is essentially a European problem - ie our problem - which for some reason I don't understand is being handled as a matter of domestic law on the far side of the Atlantic. Nobody's going to solve it that way. If this measure doesn't go through, Italy and other likeminded countries will continue to lobby for something similar until they get it.

I think the relevant governments need to be persuaded to take a more balanced view of cultural patrimony. It's a perfectly valid concept when applied to items of significant importance. If it's the Elgin Marbles or the Benin bronzes, then they should go back where they come from without further ado. Quality replicas would be just as good for display purposes. But it applying the principle to every last GLORIA EX reduces it to absurdity.

Then underlying that is the idea that antiquities belong automatically to the state. I wouldn't support that any more than I'd support any idea that they belong absolutely to the finder or the landowner. Again a balance is needed. A single GLORIA EX should go to the finder or landowner without argument; I think the idea of splitting the proceeds between them is fair to both. Something like the Staffordshire Hoard needs to go to a museum, but if you want it to be handed in you have to compensate the finder appropriately.

If we could find a way to work on an international basis, to persuade more countries to adopt something like our Portable antiquities Scheme, then I think we might be on our way to finding a real solution to this one.
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« Reply #45 on: April 14, 2010, 12:50:59 pm »

I'm not going to apologise for commenting on this when I'm not from the US...

I sure didn't ask for one.  My bias against non-Americans expressing their opinions on this issue is only with those who support the MOU.  Actually, it is against anyone expressing opinions that support the MOU.  I never claimed to be "fair and balanced" because I'm not.  And I'm not going apologise either! 
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« Reply #46 on: April 14, 2010, 03:13:21 pm »

I'm not for giving back more important antiquities either, unless they came to where they are by illegal means.
If there was a contract at the time whereby the finds of an archeological dig were divided between the country where
the artefacts were buried and the one digging them up, why should those contracts suddenly be void?
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« Reply #47 on: April 15, 2010, 01:08:33 am »

I sent my FAX too.
Do not hesitate and no matter where you live, send yours too!
Don’t wait, do it now, it is very easy and only takes a few minutes of your precious time.
Kind regards,
Marc
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« Reply #48 on: April 15, 2010, 01:55:05 pm »


As you can see, I just joined today and I am new to collecting Ancient coins. I have seen this same announcement in other sites and did submit my two "cents" in by fax. I don't know how much it would help but I guess every word counts.
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« Reply #49 on: April 15, 2010, 02:11:22 pm »

thank you Jennifer, every word does indeed count.
and welcome to Forvm!   Smiley

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