Wednesday, May 7, 2014

With a Little Help from Friends in High Places....

Activists can make a difference.  Tess Davis and others activists who lobbied the US Department of Justice and the US State Department to throw their considerable weight behind repatriating Khmer statutes from a remote temple complex to Cambodia have scored big.  With news of additional voluntary repatriations, it now seems that anything remotely similar is being returned without a fight.  But has justice really been served?  Cambodia always had a decent moral case for the return of these statues, but questions about the clarity and applicability of Cambodian law, the staleness of the claims that date from the 1970's, and the potential Khmer Rouge Government involvement in bringing the pieces to market continue to cloud the legal issues surrounding their return.


Wayne G. Sayles said...

America may have been founded on a Rule of Law principle, but that was a long time ago and the scenery today is not quite the same. These days, law rarely trumps influence. Fortunately, for those who still believe in law, influence is like smoke and mirrors while law has substance—even if some choose to ignore it.

Anonymous said...

The merits of the case aside, it seems strange for Wayne Sayles to complain about 'inflience' - i.e. lobbying. This blog itself represents the opinions of members of the ACCG, set up to lobby for 'collectors' rights'.

What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Cultural Property Observer said...

Perhaps Arthur Marsh could identify themselves a bit.

Anyway, there is nothing wrong with lobbying, but access should always be equal. Here, unfortunately because interests coincide between the archaeological community and law enforcement that does not appear to have been the case.

Anonymous said...

Hello Peter -

There is not much more to say about me. I have no dog in this fight but have been interested in collecting and archaeology for a long time.

However, I don't think CPO can complain about the principle of unequal access when Arthur Houghton keeps posting about information he receives from his important friends in the State Department!


Arthur (Marsh, not Houghton)

Cultural Property Observer said...

Thanks. I think Arthur H. was joking, but if not, his insider influence is certainly not working.