Friday, June 16, 2017

Problematic MOU Request

The State Department has notified the public of its receipt of a request for a MOU with Libya.  It remains to be seen how a country with two competing governments, that is over-run by militias and which remains in danger from ISIS can meet its obligations under UNESCO and the CPIA to protect and preserve is own cultural property let alone that which may be repatriated from the US under the terms of any agreement.  Libya needs our help, but that help should be focused on protecting its world class archaeological sites from the depredations of ISIS and other radical Islamic groups. Turning US Customs loose to seize and forfeit "undocumented" "Libyan" artifacts will only harm legitimate trade and the appreciation for Libya's ancient cultures.  It certainly won't help protect Libyan archaeological sites and museums from their greatest threat, which is hammer and explosive wielding religious fanatics.

1 comment:

John H said...

Hi Peter:
If Libya fails to meet its Unesco obligations, which looks highly likely, what then? I'll wager the same idiots who denigrate US foreign policy at every opportunity and US collectors in particular, will demand US military action.

In other words, they will expect, nay demand, US troops to risk their lives to save ancient monuments, museums, and other Libyan cultural icons.

Far better in my view, that those in the archaeology circus, strap on a four foot long piece of timber to strengthen their backbones, and go and do their own dying and fighting. If Libya's heritage is that important to them, let them die for it.

Best

John Howland