Museum Security Network

Kwame Opoku – RETURN OF THE ROSETTA STONE TO EGYPT: LIMITS TO THE GREED OF THE SELF-STYLED UNIVERSAL MUSEUMS.

“Generally speaking, it is clear that cultural property is most important to the people who created it or for whom it was created or whose particular identity and history is bound up with it. This cannot be compared with the scholastic or even inspirational influence on those who merely acquire such objects or materials. The current arguments about the retention of major objects on the grounds of scholarship are no longer tenable. In most cases the task of learning has been satisfied, as for example with the Rosetta stone, whose hieroglyphics have already been deciphered. The Parthenon and its marbles continue their hold on the imagination but they no longer have a revelatory significance for the twentieth-century Europe. The continued scholastic value of keeping the marbles in Britain is debatable and most scholars would probably welcome their return to Greece or at least not oppose it. Scholasticism can be a high-sounding motive for a selfish and unrelated purpose.”
Jeanette Greenfield (1)
It is very strange how the minds of some Westerners seem to work when it comes to discussing repatriation of looted/stolen cultural objects or objects acquired under dubious circumstances or from a people under foreign domination. For example, we have a fairly senior member of the British cultural establishment, Roy Clare, head of Britain’s Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, writing in an article, “The Rosetta Stone can be shared where it is” as if its removal by French soldiers and the subsequent transport to London were perfectly legitimate. (2) Who gave the French the right to remove objects from Egypt?  Even the British Museum, in its publication, entitled The Rosetta Stone, by Richard Parkinson, noted the evil colonialist and imperialist aims of Napoleon’s military expedition to Egypt in 1799: “…it colonized, in the name of the Enlightenment, a country that was supposedly the origin of all wisdom. The French justified this imperial enterprise by claiming that it would rescue the ancient country from a supposed state of modern barbarism, but the Egyptian historian Abd al-Rahman al Jabari (1754-1882) saw the start of the occupation in July 1798 from a very different perspective as the beginning of a period marked by great battles…miseries multiplied without end.” (3)
Read Kwame Opoku’s full text at: http:/www.museum-security.org/rosetta.htm

RETURN OF THE ROSETTA STONE TO EGYPT: LIMITS TO THE GREED OF THE SELF-STYLED UNIVERSAL MUSEUMS.

“Generally speaking, it is clear that cultural property is most important to the people who created it or for whom it was created or whose particular identity and history is bound up with it. This cannot be compared with the scholastic or even inspirational influence on those who merely acquire such objects or materials. The current arguments about the retention of major objects on the grounds of scholarship are no longer tenable. In most cases the task of learning has been satisfied, as for example with the Rosetta stone, whose hieroglyphics have already been deciphered. The Parthenon and its marbles continue their hold on the imagination but they no longer have a revelatory significance for the twentieth-century Europe. The continued scholastic value of keeping the marbles in Britain is debatable and most scholars would probably welcome their return to Greece or at least not oppose it. Scholasticism can be a high-sounding motive for a selfish and unrelated purpose.”Jeanette Greenfield (1)
It is very strange how the minds of some Westerners seem to work when it comes to discussing repatriation of looted/stolen cultural objects or objects acquired under dubious circumstances or from a people under foreign domination. For example, we have a fairly senior member of the British cultural establishment, Roy Clare, head of Britain’s Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, writing in an article, “The Rosetta Stone can be shared where it is” as if its removal by French soldiers and the subsequent transport to London were perfectly legitimate. (2) Who gave the French the right to remove objects from Egypt?  Even the British Museum, in its publication, entitled The Rosetta Stone, by Richard Parkinson, noted the evil colonialist and imperialist aims of Napoleon’s military expedition to Egypt in 1799: “…it colonized, in the name of the Enlightenment, a country that was supposedly the origin of all wisdom. The French justified this imperial enterprise by claiming that it would rescue the ancient country from a supposed state of modern barbarism, but the Egyptian historian Abd al-Rahman al Jabari (1754-1882) saw the start of the occupation in July 1798 from a very different perspective as the beginning of a period marked by great battles…miseries multiplied without end.” (3)
Read Kwame Opoku’s full text at: http:/www.museum-security.org/rosetta.htm

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