Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Restriction of coins will impede the acknowledgement of the great gifts of Greece to the West.

Today is the last day for public comments on the Greek MOU. I hope to comment on the process itself later, but in the meantime I thought I would share these words to CPAC from a Greek-American. I certainly agree with the message that it would be a mistake for the Greek government to damage ancient Greek coin collecting in the United States by pressing for import restrictions on coins in this MOU:

Dear Sirs: I am a United States citizen-and I am a Greek citizen. I was born in Greece and I am very proud of my Greek heritage, as well as that of being an American citizen. I endeavor to keep the Greek language spoken in my family as well as to my children - and I am proud that the classical heritage of Greece is one of the foundations of western civilization as well as that of this great country- the United States of America. This was recognized by our founding fathers, and I think may have been lost in our society today. I do not believe, HOWEVER, that the restrictions of so called cultural property, promotes such appreciation of heritage of the classical world. The restriction of coins will impede this acknowledgement of great gifts of Greece to the West. I have traveled to more museums and classical sights in Greece that most Americans or Greeks. I know that when a citizen of the United States is able to obtain a small object of such a culture it PROMOTES THE VALUE OF THAT GREEK HERITAGE to all the peoples of the world. My nephew, who wanted to learn more about his heritage, was enthralled by the purchase of a simple coin of ancient Greece. One of greatest Presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, was overwhelmed by the beauty of several ancient Greek coins in this country, and the result were his directing our US Mint and the great American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens to create the most beautiful of US Coins. Such requests from the Greek government, are requests that come from a financial bankrupt fiscal environment, seeking to divert attention from its internal problems. The cultural patrimony of classical Greece and Rome, belong to the all the peoples of the world, rather than to be hoarded in understaffed, poorly managed, constantly closed (from labour problems ) so called museums in a confused Greece. Personally, I was ashamed in visiting Greece last year, to hear in passing conversation from fellow Americans, that the museums were constantly closed.

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