I enjoyed reading the article entitled “Yours, Mine, Ours: Taking the Culture out of Cultural Property” in Antiquities Watch and I have sympathy for some of the views expressed there. It is an interesting article and offers food for thought. However, when I started to reflect on a few of the ideas expressed therein, many difficulties appeared.
The author refers to the increased interest in cultural property matters and the fact that “cultural property is drawing on an increasing range of cultures, nations, and sentiments involving both.” He poses the question whether this is “hurting the causes of restitution and cultural property protection? Are we, by politicizing art and antiquities, jeopardizing their protection, if not original meaning?”
I would have thought that the increased interest in cultural property issues by more States and cultures is a positive sign that cultural matters and human rights are being taken seriously. How can anybody imagine that the participation of more States in these matters could be “hurting the causes of restitution and cultural property protection” unless there is a basic underlying assumption that such issues are to be discussed only by European States and the USA?