Friday, March 18, 2016

As Cultural Bureaucrats, Culture Cops and Archaeologists Party-- Questions Linger about MOU with Italy

On March 23, 2016, the Italian Embassy will be hosting a party to celebrate (a bit late) the 15th anniversary of Italy's MOU with the United States.

Speakers will include the Italian Ambassador, Evan Ryan, the Assistant Secretary of the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, as well as representatives of the Archaeological Institute of America, the Carabiniri Command for Safeguarding Cultural Patrimony, Homeland Security Investigations and the Italian Ministry of Culture, i.e., the bureaucracies, police forces and archaeological groups that have benefited most from the agreement.

There will surely be no mention of the fact that 94% of the public comments received by CPAC were either opposed to the renewal of the MOU or continued import restrictions on historical coins of the sort widely collected within Italy itself.  Nor any discussion of the limited benefits of the MOU to American citizens, who, after all, have had to pay substantial admissions fees to visit museum exhibits hyped as "cultural exchange" under its terms.

Nor presumably will there be any discussion about the poor state of Italy's monuments or the gross under funding, corruption and bureaucratic malfeasance that has caused it.

After all, why spoil a good time?

1 comment:

Wayne G. Sayles said...

Nor is it likely that anyone present at this shindig will mention the "extra-legal" nature of U.S. bureaucratic enforcement of this cultural MOU — clearly ignoring the expressed intentions of Congress in the CCPIA. It seems odd in the extreme that law enforcement agencies like the U.S. Department of Justice, Homeland Security and the Italian Carabinieri are all scratching the backs of fellow bureaucrats who, through creative rulemaking, essentially violate the very law they are all gathered to applaud. Doesn't "Law Enforcement" mean enforcement of the law, the whole law and nothing but the law? Even more odd, is the fact that the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild has consistently supported that law (CCPIA) where some of those who will be present at this event have long sought to change it or to circumvent it. I feel quite sure there was never a whisper of thought about inviting a representative of the collector community to applaud the MOU that they too supported. It's really hard to vilify the opposition when the opposition is a law's staunchest supporter and is standing right next to you. "Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive."