Artifact Retrieval

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Should artifacts be returned to their home countries?

Yes, under all circumstances.
2
13%
Yes, if the home country has the capability to house them in a safe manner.
9
60%
No, let them stay where they are.
1
7%
I have a different opinion.
3
20%
 
Total votes : 15

Postby cheetah » Thu Jul 13, 2006 12:01 pm

I think shostakovich raises a good point about stealing vs. legitimate transactions. Something stolen should be returned. I also agree with the point made about the issue of "ownership." I live in SE Virginia, Jamestown/Williamsburg/Yorktown and all that is within half an hour of where I live. Tons of history and Indian stuff everywhere.

I'm sorry if it makes me a bad person or whatnot, but if some descendant of the Powhatans came to my neighborhood or my house and demanded their land back, I'd call the cops. In my mind, at least with land, transfers happen. For the majority of human history land and artifacts have been taken in war and traded between conquering powers. This is nothing new.

However, the issue with the Elgin marbles is not how he obtained them, from whom, or when since it is all moot. The issue, to me at least, is that Britain said they'd return them when the Greeks had a place to house them. The Greeks now have those places, I went to them, and yet the British have yet to return them.

All around, I think this is turning out to be a very interesting discussion and thank you all for responding to my post.
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Postby DavidS » Thu Jul 13, 2006 12:20 pm

I got kinda sad when I read how the old London Bridge was dismantled stone by stone and reassembled somewhere in Arizona(?).
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Postby BigJon@Work » Thu Jul 13, 2006 12:46 pm

Possession is 99% of the law.
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Postby DavidS » Thu Jul 13, 2006 1:01 pm

BigJon@Work wrote:Possession is 99% of the law.

Is that what we're saying to the Egyptians, Iraqis and Greeks, and what the Ancient Romans said to the Judeans when they plundered the Temple?
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Postby Giant Communist Robot » Thu Jul 13, 2006 1:11 pm

BigJon@Work wrote:
Possession is 99% of the law.

Is that what we're saying to the Egyptians, Iraqis and Greeks, and what the Ancient Romans said to the Judeans when they plundered the Temple?


Back then, it was 100% of the law

The issue, to me at least, is that Britain said they'd return them when the Greeks had a place to house them. The Greeks now have those places, I went to them, and yet the British have yet to return them.


I know this was a British objection to repatriation, but I don't think it was a condition for return. AFAIK, neither the British government nor the British Museum have agreed to return them--but they are willing to discuss the issue.

It appears that many of the supporters for repatriation are British, and they were certainly among the first, if not the first, to complain about this.
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Postby barfle » Thu Jul 13, 2006 1:23 pm

Giant Communist Robot wrote:
I think the real question here is one of "ownership"

Of course the land under your house belongs to you. Is there any doubt?

I'm sure someone could lay claim to it being their ancient tribal lands, although I doubt that it would stand up in the courts we have today. Tomorrow, who knows?

How did the first registered owner acquire the property? What gave him title to it? Was anyone offended by that titling?

I see many parallels between this and artifacts that were taken as spoils of war (since I'm pretty sure that's how my land was acquired by people with the concept of land posession).
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Postby cheetah » Thu Jul 13, 2006 2:34 pm

The London Bridge thing is kind of pathetic...

The area in which I live is called Kempsville after the Kemp family. The best guess I have as to how my land got to my family is that the Kemps owned, well, everything probably by some grant from the king (British) or something and then they eventually sold it off through the generations and through inheritances. Most of the land around my immediate area was a cattle/strawberry farm. I guess the king got it from taking it from the Powhatan Indians. Barfle is right about how the Indians didn't really have a concept of land ownership and so the Europeans were able to take advantage of that.

This whole issue is kind of a sticky wicket. It's hard to champion returning artifacts while almost everything in history has been stolen or traded or captured at some point. I think the whole idea was born out of the post-WWII movement of decolonization and trying to let countries other than European/Western ones have self-determination and self-government. Just a theory.

I think the best solution would be to have more loans and tours. Shostakovich made a very good point. It was pure chance, luck, and having the most awesome parents in the world :D that let me go Greece. If not for my professor, my parents, and a bit of fancy financing, I'd have to wait for them to disassemble the Parthenon and rebuild it in, oh let's say, the middle of New York City. Speaking of tours, has everybody heard about the King Tut tour? I'm hopefully going when it gets to Philly in 2007.
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Postby Shapley » Thu Jul 13, 2006 2:43 pm

Cheetah,

RE: The Parthenon: There's one in Nashville, TN.

Here's a link

V/R
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Postby shostakovich » Thu Jul 13, 2006 6:14 pm

This is from Dai Bread.

In this country, artifact retrieval centres around tattooed and shrunken heads. They're rather too gruesome for modern tastes, and are generally not on public display, so it's fairly easy to get them back. Maori tribes are quite keen to get hold of their ancestors' remains and give them a decent burial. So there is a steady flow of heads being returned from overseas museums, mostly in Germany & Britain.
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Postby shostakovich » Thu Jul 13, 2006 6:23 pm

Marye wrote:
shostakovich wrote: Many more of us could travel to New Haven than to Lima --- no passport needed.


I need a passport to travel to the U.S.


OOPS! My bad, Marye.

I thought a birth certificate was still valid for our northern friends. I wonder if the change was caused by you-know-who.
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Postby shostakovich » Thu Jul 13, 2006 6:34 pm

I haven't been to Las Vegas, but if it doesn't have a Parthenon, it's only a matter of time.
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Postby Nicole Marie » Fri Jul 14, 2006 6:56 am

This was in the NY Post:

CLAIM TO FRAME
By BARBARA HOFFMAN

July 13, 2006 -- He's called her Gustav Klimt's Mona Lisa - and as cosmetics king and Neue Galerie President Ronald Lauder yesterday unveiled the painting for which he reportedly paid a record $135 million, Adele Bloch-Bauer did seem to have a certain slight, knowing smile.

This was the woman, after all, whom the painter may have slept with - the beautiful, 17-years-young-

er wife of the Jewish sugar magnate who'd commissioned the painting, and the only woman Klimt painted twice in full-length portraits. (The artist never married, but it didn't stop him from fathering 14 children.)

The portrait took Klimt three years to finish. After Adele died of meningitis in 1925, at age 43, it hung in the Bloch-Bauers' bedroom, only to be seized later by the Nazis.

For more than 50 years, "Adele Bloch-Bauer 1" hung in Austria's National Gallery, until a prolonged legal battle led to the ruling this year that turned it over to Adele's heirs, who in turn took it to Christie's. The widely reported auction price of $135 million is the most ever paid for a single painting.

"As you can see, it works very well in this room," Lauder proclaimed yesterday at a press preview - and it did, surrounded as it was by marble walls and several other Klimt portraits.

Amid the mob of reporters and photographers who clustered around Lauder and the portrait was a delegation from Austrian radio and TV.

"I think most people in Austria are sad but understand that this is justice," Raimund Loew, bureau chief of ORF Radio Austria, told The Post before rushing to interview the painting's new owner.

Also present was Adele's only surviving heir, her 90-year-old niece, Maria Altmann - looking terrific in a light olive suit - who offered a few words about the woman she knew as Auntie.

"I was too young to get to know her, but my older sister did," she observed of the porcelain-skinned, dark-eyed Adele, who died when Marie was 9.

"She surrounded herself with people of science and art . . . I remember she always carried a long cigarette holder."

The portrait was displayed in Los Angeles for a time before coming to New York.

Now it's here to stay, in the elegantly appointed museum at Fifth Avenue and 86th Street.

"I'm so happy that [these paintings] are here in New York," Altmann says, "where everyone can see them."
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Postby Marye » Fri Jul 14, 2006 8:47 am

shostakovich wrote:
Marye wrote:
shostakovich wrote: Many more of us could travel to New Haven than to Lima --- no passport needed.


I need a passport to travel to the U.S.


OOPS! My bad, Marye.

I thought a birth certificate was still valid for our northern friends. I wonder if the change was caused by you-know-who.
Shos


It was.... it isn't quite official just yet ... Our PM "Steve" Harper ("you know who" called him "Steve" and it has caused a nation wide snort of derision) can't accommodate your man enough.
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Postby DavidS » Fri Jul 14, 2006 9:04 am

Marye wrote:
shostakovich wrote:
Marye wrote:
shostakovich wrote: Many more of us could travel to New Haven than to Lima --- no passport needed.


I need a passport to travel to the U.S.


OOPS! My bad, Marye.

I thought a birth certificate was still valid for our northern friends. I wonder if the change was caused by you-know-who.
Shos


It was.... it isn't quite official just yet ... Our PM "Steve" Harper ("you know who" called him "Steve" and it has caused a nation wide snort of derision) can't accommodate your man enough.

Hmm - many years ago, Brits could take a "passport-free" day trip to Calais or Boulogne. I don't know what the position is today, as when I land anywhere in Europe I need to show my EC/UK passport.
In the UK there is a debate going on about making the carrying of id certificates mandatory, like in many other countries.
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Postby BigJon@Work » Fri Jul 14, 2006 10:52 am

DavidS wrote:In the UK there is a debate going on about making the carrying of id certificates mandatory, like in many other countries.

Let's see:
Shoot on sight - check
Deportations of legal citizens - check
Jailing without charges - check
Mandatory national ID cards - coming soon?

Just as I thought it would after July 7, 2005, the UK is descending into fascism. Once the population is cowed into thinking the paternalistic dictatorship of the leftist government is a good thing, they can be led like lambs to the slaughter of any government rollback of liberty. US citizens, stay on your guard, protect your freedoms or we will go the same way.
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Postby cheetah » Fri Jul 14, 2006 8:36 pm

Shapley,

I know, and as much as they've tried to make it look like the original would have been in the fifth century B.C., it just somehow doesn't seem the same.

It kind of reminds me of how I was discussing my summer with a waitress at a local restaurant I frequent: she asked where I had been and I said I had just gotten back from Athens. She proceeded to tell me how she had relatives there and went all the time. It took me a moment to realize she thought I was refering to Athens, Georgia and not Athens, Greece. I don't mind and it's an easy mistake to make, but it did make me chuckle.

Anyways, that's neat about the painting being displayed. I would assume there are still alot of problems stemming from nazi looting, but isn't it interesting how we refer to it as looting? I'm sure if the Nazis (god forbid) had won, it would have been considered "collection for preservative causes" or "confiscation with the intent to protect" or some other bureaucratic term.
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Postby DavidS » Sat Jul 15, 2006 8:05 am

BigJon@Work wrote:
DavidS wrote:In the UK there is a debate going on about making the carrying of id certificates mandatory, like in many other countries.

Let's see:
Shoot on sight - check
Deportations of legal citizens - check
Jailing without charges - check
Mandatory national ID cards - coming soon?

Just as I thought it would after July 7, 2005, the UK is descending into fascism. Once the population is cowed into thinking the paternalistic dictatorship of the leftist government is a good thing, they can be led like lambs to the slaughter of any government rollback of liberty. US citizens, stay on your guard, protect your freedoms or we will go the same way.

Yeh - so what problem does the world have with what Israel is doing in Gaza and Lebanon?
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Postby Giant Communist Robot » Sat Jul 15, 2006 7:24 pm

Cheetah wrote:
I'm sure if the Nazis (god forbid) had won, it would have been considered "collection for preservative causes" or "confiscation with the intent to protect" or some other bureaucratic term.


Here's a similar rationalization from the 'other side of the coin' I quoted from The Fog of War last Dec. 20:

In "The fog of war," McNamara expressed his horror at killing 100,000 Japanese civilians in a single night--only to be rebuked by Curtis LeMay who said

Quote:
McNamara, do you mean to say that instead of killing 100,000 Japanese civilians in that one night--we should have burned to death a lesser number, or none? And then had our soldiers cross the beaches in Tokyo and been slaughtered in the tens of thousands? Is that what you're proposing? Is that moral? Is that wise?
LeMay adds

Quote:


If we'd lost the war, we'd all have prosecuted as war criminals


leaving McNamara to ponder what makes it immoral if you lose and not immoral if you win
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Postby DavidS » Sat Jul 15, 2006 10:51 pm

Giant Communist Robot wrote:Cheetah wrote:
I'm sure if the Nazis (god forbid) had won, it would have been considered "collection for preservative causes" or "confiscation with the intent to protect" or some other bureaucratic term.


Here's a similar rationalization from the 'other side of the coin' I quoted from The Fog of War last Dec. 20:

In "The fog of war," McNamara expressed his horror at killing 100,000 Japanese civilians in a single night--only to be rebuked by Curtis LeMay who said

Quote:
McNamara, do you mean to say that instead of killing 100,000 Japanese civilians in that one night--we should have burned to death a lesser number, or none? And then had our soldiers cross the beaches in Tokyo and been slaughtered in the tens of thousands? Is that what you're proposing? Is that moral? Is that wise?
LeMay adds

Quote:


If we'd lost the war, we'd all have prosecuted as war criminals


leaving McNamara to ponder what makes it immoral if you lose and not immoral if you win

We had this discussion some while ago on another thread.
I just wonder whether the human race can't determine some absolute and permanent criterion for moral values; you know - something equivalent to ISO 9000???
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Postby cheetah » Sun Jul 16, 2006 1:07 pm

I just find it interesting that the victors write the history. Look at America and the Indians/Native Americans. They are reduced to quaint Curier and Ives images at Thanksgiving and are the stereotypical savage for the cowboy to go up against in Westerns. We want to forget that the first generations of settlers, politicans, and military officials in this country basically comitted genocide. Ever hear about the general (I think during the Revolution or shortly thereafter) who sent blankets to the Indians during a particularly harsh winter after obtaining them from a smallpox ward?

It's happening now with the "War Against Terrorism." I am not going to take a stance on the war because I didn't start this thread to get everybody polarized about war. The point I wish to make is that I'm sure we (those of us not in the war zone) are getting completely filtered reports of what's actually happening. I am also positive that in twenty or thirty years when this is all written in textbooks for our kids and grandkids, it's going to sound completely different that what we remember.

Victors write the history and what's worse, they (and I mean aanyone here from Rome to Napoleon) tend to warp it to serve their own purposes.

Back on the "main topic," this all relates back because, I think, people consider it "looting" if it's done by a defeated power. In the case of the Elgin marbles, the Turks, whose empire is now almost a hundred years gone, were the "looters." If we also examine the fact that they were Muslims, we can gain even more understanding. The Greeks and the Turks/Persians had conflicts beginning in the sixth century B.C.. Add to that the current animosity felt between some sectors of the West and the Arab World and you've got a conflict over these artifacts. I think Greco-Turkish history and the current "West vs. Islam" conflict really does impact what's going on in the Elgin marbles debate.

And a big thanks to Nicole Marie for mentioning this thread on the air!!! (I feel special :D )
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