Showing results 49 - 60 of 459 for the tag: Restitution.

March 4, 2013

British recalcitrance over returning the Kohinoor

Posted at 9:23 am in Similar cases

More coverage of proposals for the return of the Koh-i-noor diamond to India, following British Prime Minister David Cameron’s remarks during his visit to India.

From:
India America Today

British Recalcitrance on Restoring Kohinoor to India
Article | February 28, 2013 – 10:06am | By Neera Kuckreja Sohoni

San Francisco – On February 20, 2013, Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron placed a wreath at the Jallianwala Bagh memorial in Amritsar thereby becoming the first serving British prime minister to voice regret about one of the British Raj’s bloodiest atrocities in India, entailing the massacre of unarmed civilians in the city of Amritsar in 1919.

On the downside, Cameron rejected any possibility of Britain returning the 105-carat Koh-i-Noor diamond, embedded in the British Queen’s crown and on display in the Tower of London.
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February 28, 2013

The Court of the District of Columbia & the Chabad jews – a possible solution to the Parthenon Marbles case?

Posted at 2:29 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

Paul Barford raises an interesting question on his blog, regarding a recent case in the USA. Essentially, the gist of the post relates back to an earlier story, about the fallout from a court case in the courts of the District of Columbia.

The case was brought by Chabad Jews, who have been campaigning for the return of two collections of books & manuscripts from Russia since the 1980s. They filed a lawsuit in 2004. In July 2010, the court ordered the Russia to return the library & archives to Chabad. At this point, Russia ignored the judgement. A month ago, on 16th January 2013, the same court sanctioned the Russian Government $50,00 per day for not complying with their ruling.

Since then, Russia’s foreign ministry has taken the retaliatory move, of recommending that two government agencies sue the US Library of Congress. If this case was to proceed, it would take place in a Russian court. It is taken against the Library of Congress, because through the inter-library loans programme (of which the LOC was the conduit), in 1994, seven books were lent to the Shabad group & never returned.

Russia has also taken the move of placing an embargo on any loans to museums in the USA, due to fears that artefacts will be seized.

Now, I’m not at all sure at this stage what the outcome of all this will be – but, the fact remains, that sanctions taken in a court outside the home country still have a potential to provoke a reaction.

Previously, I have been party to suggestions that a similar move could be taken by the Greek Government against the British Museum & the District of Columbia was mentioned as one possible jurisdiction under which this might take place. Now, I’m hoping that if it did take place, it would follower a calmer course than the current case, but it is indisputable, that the threat of legal action based on this precedent would be a strong incentive to negotiate.

Part of the problem with the Parthenon Marbles case, is that there has never been enough pressure placed against the British Museum / British Government. Essentially, they don’t feel that they currently have to respond to anything. If requests for negotiations are ever issued by Greece, these are closed out fairly quickly by laying down pre-conditions that Greece will never agree to – essentially asking them to give up something before the discussions can even start. Something needs to be done to show the British Museum that Greece means business – that the issue will not just go away.

Italy did not succeed in their requests against the US, until initiating legal action – although in many cases, the (serious) threat of legal action was eough to start off proper negotiations leading to the settlement i.e. it never actually went to court.

Clearly, in the case of the Chabad Jews (of which much more could be written), negotiating was off the agenda, as the case is being pursued to the bitter end, & looks like it could develop into a full blown diplomatic incident if one side doesn’t back down. Essentially (from the perspective of an outsider) they have taken a weapon & used it unwisely – and could end up blowing off their own feet in the process.

Notwithstanding the above point though, the fact remains – the legal route offers a path to negotiation & resolution of the case that has not yet been properly explored. Greece has tried the gentle discussions route for years & made little progress – so perhaps it is now time to take a different tack?

From:
The Art Newspaper

Russian agencies move to sue US Library of Congress
Threatened lawsuits could result in sanctions against the US, in retaliation for $50,000 per day penalties against Russia
By Laura Gilbert. Web only
Published online: 12 February 2013

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has recommended that two Russian government agencies sue the US Library of Congress, the news agency Pravda reported Friday. The move, seemingly in retaliation for US court-ordered sanctions against Russia costing $50,000 per day, is the latest twist in the ongoing dispute between the Brooklyn-based Jewish group Chabad and Russia.

Chabad has been trying to obtain two collections of Jewish books and manuscripts from Russia since the 1980s and filed a lawsuit in 2004. On 16 January, a Washington, DC District Court sanctioned the Russian government $50,000 per day because Russia had not followed the court’s July 2010 order to turn over the library and archive to Chabad. Shortly after the order, Russia initiated an embargo, which is still in effect, on lending art to American museums, claiming it feared Chabad would seize its art in order to enforce the judgment. American museums responded by refusing to loan art works to Russian institutions. Chabad, for its part, says it will not claim Russian art that is immune from seizure under US law but would enforce the judgment by seizing other Russian property in the US and through monetary sanctions.
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February 27, 2013

Turkey versus the Louvre – Ankara’s artefact restitution attempts continue

Posted at 1:49 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

More coverage of Turkey’s ongoing attempts to secure the restitution of disputed artefacts – many of which are housed in Paris’s Louvre museum.

From:
Le Monde (via Worldcrunch)

Published on 2013-02-18 15:56:34
Turkey vs. The Louvre: Ankara Renews Its Quest To Recover Antiquities
By Guillaume Perrier
LE MONDE/Worldcrunch

ISTANBUL – The treasure of Troy is back. The collection of golden jewelry from the ancient city, which had been stolen during the 19th century, was handed back to Turkey by the University of Pennsylvania last September.

The precious jewelry – known as the “Troy gold” – had been looted after the first excavations of Troy by a German archeologist in the 1870s. No one knows if Helen of Troy actually wore the jewels, but Turkey says it belongs to them. “It is only right that they be returned to where they were taken from,” declared Minister of Culture and Tourism Ertugrul Gunay.
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Not all types of restitution are equal – law enforcement & return of looted artefacts

Posted at 1:43 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

This piece by Kwame Opoku raises the interesting point, that the often gets lost when described in press articles – that there are two very different types of restitution. One type happens regularly, is legally enforced & has no real involvement of museums & galleries. The other type happens rarely (if at all) & is determined by the museums. But, in the media, these two very different types of cases often become one & the same, implying that there is a level of co-operation between countries over disputed artefacts that is not really there. Certainly, there is one layer that exists, but the layers beneath it are applied far more erratically.

From:
Ligali

Wed 13 February 2013
Opinion: What We Understand By “Restitution”
Kwame Opoku questions whether Nigeria’s approach to restitution of cultural artefacts is really working and offers a more progressive approach and honest definition.
Submitted By: Kwame Opoku

“Short of giving details of the anticipated repossession of Nigerian artefacts from France, Usman insisted that diplomacy remained the “best and only option for now and we would change our strategy if it’s not working.”

We are all pleased that the French, just like the US Americans are returning Nigerian looted artefacts that have been intercepted by the police or customs whilst in transit or at arrival at port of destination. This is the result of normal collaboration between customs/police institutions of France/USA and those of Nigeria. They are not the result of efforts by cultural institutions seeking the return of looted items, as far as we know. These are the results of investigation of criminal activities pursued by the customs/police institutions.
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February 26, 2013

The Koh-i-noor and promoting Britain’s trade ties with India

Posted at 2:18 pm in Similar cases

David Cameron’s trip to India was ostensibly to promote trade ties with Britain. Reading between the lines, this could be seen more as: We see lots of money sloshing around in India nowadays & we want to see if we can get a slice of it.

The questions about the Koh-i-noor diamond can hardly have been unexpected though. Afterall, It happened on his previous visit to the country & it is well known that India would like the gem to be returned. This makes it all the more surprising that his response sounded as though little real thought had gone into it.

If Cameron wanted to promote trade with India, surely a gesture of agreeing to return the Diamond could form a great catalyst for this – although I have a feeling that due to its position in the crown jewels, the Prime Minister would probably not have the authority to return it anyway. At the end of the day though, its removal from the Crown Jewels would not be a massive loss for Britain – financially, our situation would be the same with or without it.

Like many other restitution cases, the Koh-i-noor diamond is a complex one. This editorial piece raises some of the issues, but there are many others on both sides. The article highlights the fact that Pakistan has allowed much of its own heritage to crumble & deteriorate in recent years – therefore, does it deserve to have other items returned. I would counter this argument though – there are no laws currently that allow other countries to remove artefacts for their own safety (without permission from the original owners), so should the fact that the artefact is already out of the hands of the original owners be used to promote such a viewpoint, which would not normally be considered a legal possibility.

From:
Dawn

24 Feb 2013
Jewel in the crown

THOUGH David Cameron may have been keen to promote trade ties on his recent visit to India, the British prime minister turned down a long-standing demand to return the Koh-i-Noor diamond. Mr Cameron felt returning the dazzling gem would not be “sensible”. Questions over the Koh-i-Noor’s rightful ownership stem from the legacy of Britain’s colonial past. Originally mined in southern India centuries ago, the fabled stone changed hands several times, passing through the treasuries of the subcontinent’s Hindu, Muslim and Sikh kings before being presented to Queen Victoria by the colonial government of India. Considered a trophy from perhaps the most prized of Britain’s realms, the diamond is today part of the crown jewels firmly ensconced in the Tower of London. But Britain was not the only European colonial power to have appropriated the cultural property of others. More recently, there was widespread looting of Iraq’s historical treasures following the 2003 United States invasion; the Americans did little as gangs of looters made off with priceless treasures in the anarchy following Saddam Hussein’s fall.

It is valid to ask if historical artefacts whisked away from former colonies and now sitting in Western museums will receive proper care if returned to their countries of origin. We in Pakistan, for example, have allowed our heritage to crumble. Also, it is true that ancient collections in the Louvre or the British Museum have become part of world heritage. But how many of the world’s people can simply hop on a plane to enjoy the treasures taken from their countries? Ethically, there is weight in the argument that treasures looted in the age of empire be returned to their countries of origin to right historical wrongs and allow the people of former colonies to better appreciate their own heritage, while placing responsibility on those countries to preserve the artefacts.

Bronze age gold cape to return to Wales on loan

Posted at 1:59 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

More coverage of the return (on loan) of the Mold Cape, planned to take place later this year. This is not the first tie that the cape has been returned on loan – a previous exhibition of it in Wrexham took place in 2005.

From:
BBC News

23 February 2013 Last updated at 11:07
Mold gold cape to be displayed in Cardiff and Wrexham museums

A unique ceremonial Bronze Age gold cape which was discovered in Flintshire 180 years ago is to go on display in Cardiff and Wrexham this summer.

The Mold Gold Cape, thought to have been a woman’s, will be loaned first to the National Museum in Cardiff in July.
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February 24, 2013

The Koh-i-noor diamond, the Parthenon Marbles & the Benin Bronzes – three disputed artefact cases

Posted at 7:31 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

Kwame Opoku writes about British Prime Minister David Cameron’s comments on the Koh-i-noor diamond & the Parthenon Marbles during his trip to India.

From:
Kwame Opoku (by email)

DAVID CAMERON RULES OUT THE RETURN OF THE PARTHENON MARBLES AND THE KOHINOOR DIAMOND TO THEIR COUNTIES OF ORIGIN.

On the last day of his trade visit to India, David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, ruled out the return of the Kohinoor Diamond to India and added that the same applied to the Parthenon /Elgin Marbles. (1)

Cameron thought it was best that these objects be left where they are in the care of the British Museum
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The Koh-i-Noor – Whose history is it a part of & who should own it?

Posted at 7:04 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

David Cameron’s point of view on the return of the Koh-i-noor diamond has had a lot of coverage in recent days. In many ways, the view that he gives is very similar to the line taken by the British Museum on items such as Parthenon Marbles & the Benin Bronzes – that the British are ideally placed to display these artefacts as part of collections from all corners of the globe, where they can be seen by many people. This reasoning always reeks of imperialism to me however – it is an entirely self-appointed role – the artefacts weren’t generally taken with this purpose in mind originally & giving the great museums of the world this role was never something decided by the original owners of the artefacts either. Surely, if the aim is for these works to be seen by as many people as possible, then India would be an ideal location anyway. England may once have been at the centre of the world, but with the rise of the Middle East, South East Asia & China, India is ideally placed to be a hub linking these regions. There is little in reality to link the Koh-i-noor to England, although it should be remembered that is an object that has always moved from place to place. No doubt, one day it will move on, beyond England’s borders, but where it ends up at that stage, is ass yet unknown.

From:
Daily Star (Bangladesh)

Sunday, February 24, 2013
Sunday Pouch
Who owns history, Mr. Cameron?
Ashfaqur Rahman

Last Week, British Prime Minister David Cameron, during his official visit to India, made a disconcerting statement in Amritsar. He said his country would not return the 105 karat Kohinoor diamond, one of the largest in the world, which was taken in 1850 from South Asia as a “gift” to the British monarch Queen Victoria. He reiterated that the “diamond in the Royal Crown is ours.” “I do not believe in returnism, as it were. I don’t think it is sensible. The right answer is that the British Museum and other cultural institutions around the world should make sure that the things which we have and look after so well are properly shared with people around the world,” he said.

The history of the Kohinoor diamond is a fascinating one. It was mined in the thirteenth century in Andhra Pradesh, and was initially in possession of King Prataparudra in that region. Kohinoor stayed with the Mughals for a long time. Emperor Shahjahan affixed it on his Peacock Throne to add glamour to the piece. The Kohinoor fell into difficult times when it was seized by Persian King Nadir Shah when he attacked Delhi.
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February 22, 2013

Diamonds are forever… ours… David Cameron’s the anti-returnist’s reasoning behind keeping Koh-i-noor

Posted at 7:40 pm in Similar cases

Most common phrases we here about diamonds today (not least the one used in the title of this post) were created by the De Beers cartel – an organisation that’s main aim is to boost the price & sales of diamonds around the world. Even without De Beers though, diamonds have always been highly valued & sought after by the wealthy.

The fact is though, that there is a long story to the Koh-i-noor – it only became British property relatively recently & was taken in circumstances that many today would see as morally / ethically questionable. It had been valued by others for a long time before Britain got hold of it & various countries still claim that it is theirs. Many analogies / parallels can be drawn with this case, although I personally feel that the comparison to the Parthenon Marbles is a particularly poor one & merely serves to highlight how uneducated David Cameron is about both of the cases.

That said though, the cases can still both be equally valid – and something needs to be done to work towards resolving them rather than merely brushing off requests with flippant remarks.

From:
First Post

Diamonds are forever… British. Why Cameron really can’t give back the Koh-i-noor
by Sandip Roy Feb 22, 2013

Diamonds are forever and they are for your EYES only.

So India, you can look but don’t even dream about getting the Koh-i-noor back.

Instead David Cameron has given India a parting gift – a post-colonial word – returnism.
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David Cameron, Modern India, Returnism, the Koh-i-Noor & the Parthenon Sculptures

Posted at 9:42 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

David Cameron’s comments on the Koh-i-noor diamond have provoked huge amounts of controversy amongst Indians everywhere, with thousands of posts on twitter speaking out against his attitude. The vocal attitude of the restitution supporters is to be encouraged – and perhaps other countries could learn from some of their techniques and apply them to their own campaigns. I was particularly intrigued by this comedy routine discussing the diamond – and its continued retention by Britain.

The British Prime Minister made apologies, for some of the worst acts committed in India during the time of the British Empire – something that may have required much thinking & soul searching (& possibly even a few conversations with lawyers about any potential increase in liability / culpability). At the same time though, this was only a statement, something that required no physical or financial commitment. On the case of the Koh-i-nor however, making any sort of commitment would mean that he had to actually do something rather than just talking about it.

The saying that actiona speak louder than words is well known – but the very different approach to these two issues by David Cameron suggests that our Prime Minister would far prefer to be a man of (cheap) words, than one of (expensive actions). Words are meaningless unless they are followed up by some physical commitment.

In part, the British PM is no doubt worried that the return of such a high profile artefact as the Koh-i-noor, a diamond famous around the world, that forms part of the crown jewels. He is worried that restitution could be a vote loser, whereas, the clamour of voices for return is still not loud enough for its continued retention to be seen as cause for concern. Where people think that there is a just case for return (of any artefacts), they must continue to make their feelings known – letting the current owners know that the issue is not going to go away if it is ignored – that some sort of compromise or negotiated agreement needs to be met. Almost always, there is potential for an agreement that can benefit both sides – but it often involves thinking outside the box, to consider what each side has that may benefit the other & most of all, to put aside worries about any temporary loss of face that may be caused by doing the right thing.

Throughout all of this, we must remember that the Koh-i-noor (like many other restitution cases) is a complex issue. Different parties take different positions on the circumstances of the original acquisition – was it a spoil of war, or a legitimate exchange? If someone’s hand is forced in making a deal, does the deal still hold the same legitimacy? Furthermore, India is not the only country claiming ownership of the gem – so even if it returned, they might then have to deal with other restitution claims from Iran, Pakistan & Afghanistan (these are the potential claimants that I know of – there may well be others).

Modern India is a very different place, from the one that gave up the diamond to Britain in 1849 – in much the same way as contemporary Greece bears little resemblance to 1800, when it formed an outpost of the Ottoman empire. If Britain wants to deal with (& benefit from the wealth of) these modern countries, perhaps it needs to do something to put right some of the actions that reduced their culture in the past – rather than just returning again wanting to take more (albeit in a very different way).

Where does this all leave the Elgin Marbles? Well, Cameron has previously made his (ill informed) views on this subject clear in the past, so the fact that he has not had a sudden change of heart should not be seen as a big surprise. What is ridiculous however, is his lumping of completely different cases together under the one umbrella – the suggestion that all cases should be dealt with by a single statement, rather than even starting to consider the varying individual merits & circumstances of each one.

Cameron upsets many with the use of the term Elgin Marbles – a phrase that has for a long time been deprecated by the British Museum & that (while known to the public), is no longer taken as being the correct name for these sculptures. Use of such terms in public statements, suggests that he has only a passing acquaintance with the actual facts of these cases, meaning that his cursory brushing away of any suggestions of restitution is all the more galling.

I spoke before of his use of the word returnism – a term that does not seem to have many other mentions elsewhere – perhaps I should not complain too loudly about this though – particularly as the title of this blog is equally guilty of nealogizing… I actually quite like the term – if I hadn’t named this site Elginism, perhaps returnism would have been a good alternative name.

From:
Global Post

Faine Greenwood
February 21, 2013 07:20
Britain doesn’t plan on returning Koh-i-Noor diamond to India, says Cameron

The enormous Koh-i-Noor diamond may have originated in India, but it won’t be returned to its original owners, reiterated British prime minister David Cameron on the third day of an official visit to India this week.

The 105-karat Koh-i-Noor diamond once graced the crown of Queen Elizabeth I and remains an integral part of the British collection of crown jewels, displayed at the Tower of London.
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New legislation in Europe may help recovery of looted national treasures

Posted at 8:58 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

New legislation proposed by the European Commission may help EU member states to recover artefacts that they believe have been illegally removed from their country. The clear limitation though, is that this would only work when both countries are EU members – which instantly strikes the majority of high profile restitution cases off the list of ones covered by the legislation. Although, the Parthenon Marbles would of course be covered.

Until more details of the legislation are published, it is hard to guage what the actual impact of it might be.

From:
New Europe

New legislation to facilitate recovery of illegally removed national treasures
Article | February 19, 2013 – 1:52pm | By Elena Ralli

The European Commission is planning to help Member States recover national treasures which have been unlawfully removed from their territory by amending its current legislation that has several inadequacies. Consequently, the European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani proposed today to strengthen the possibility for restitution available to Member States.

As Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship stated: “Safeguarding the cultural heritage of all Member States is of major importance to the European Union. Our proposal is therefore necessary to further strengthen the effectiveness of the fight against illegal trafficking in cultural goods. The harmful effect on our national treasures represent a serious threat to the preservation of the origins and history of our civilization.”
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February 21, 2013

David Cameron argues against returnism, stating that he does not support return of Parthenon Sculptures

Posted at 2:50 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

British Prime Minister, David Cameron had already indicated in 2010, that he had no interest in considering the return of the Koh-i-noor diamond to India. During his current visit to the country, he has once again re-iterated his point – but this time extended it to cover other cases such as the Parthenon Marbles (although it is not the first time he has mentioned his views on that case either).

Taking this approach is a great shame. He wants to encourage greater trade links with India, and he has made limited apologies for some of the worst atrocities of colonial rule, but at the same time, his actions suggest that he still believes we are in the age of empire – that Britain can lay down the way problems are to be dealt with & that everyone else had to just buy into it, without any real option to put their point of view across properly.

He argues that the British Museum is already linking up with other museums around the world, but whenever this has taken place, it is very much the British Museum that sets the terms of how the relationship will operate – and in most cases is created to promote a two way traffic (i.e. to enrich the permanent collection in London with high quality temporary loans). Any reciprocal loans are something that they accept as part of some deal, yet it rarely feels as though they are a driving factor.

Cameron talks of returnism – labeling complex cases as though they are all basically the same & can be dealt with by a short comment, whereas the reality is that each case is very different. There is a huge range between cases, from those strong restitution cases where there is a clear argument for return & relatively weak ones, where for most people, the balance might sway in favour of them being retained, perhaps because their original purchase was legitimately made, or perhaps because of when / how they were taken etc.

Certain sectors of Britain’s ruling classes need to wake up to the fact that we no longer have an empire & that times have changed – we might have once led the world, but dragging our heels in the attempts to cling onto the past will be of no help in trying to regain this position.

From:
Kathimerini (English Edition)

Thursday February 21, 2013
Cameron rules out return of Parthenon marbles

British Prime Minister David Cameron has ruled out the return of the so-called Elgin marbles to Greece.

Speaking from India, where he is on an official visit, on Thursday the Tory leader turned down requests for the return of the Koh-i-noor diamond to Britain’s former colony saying he did not believe in “returnism.”
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