Gerstenblith to chair CPAC
by Peter Tompa
This appointment is a dishonorable and unethical mockery of everything that the CPAC was originally established by Congress to accomplish, acting in obedience to the clearly expressed will of the American people. A notoriously closed-minded anticollecting bigot whose antipathy to everything we stand for could not possibly be more extreme, Patty Gerstenblith has always been a sort of far-left-wing“caped crusader,” ideologically constantly at war with private antiquities collectors and the trade supporting them. Even such a notoriously unbalanced extremist as Paul Barford - who has at least given occasional indications that he would be willing to accept continuation of private antiquities collecting on his own terms and who has given a good deal of deep thought to the proper role of CPAC and the CCIA - would have been a better and much wiser choice. In his bold attempt to cut the Gordian knot hitching the wagon of US cultural property policy to the post at the temple of UNESCO, Mr. Barford even went so far as to publicly state the radical view that to be genuinely open and consistent in its cultural policy, the USA should now withdraw from accession to the 1970 UNESCO Convention by repealing the 1983 CCIA.
This catastrophic and cynical appointment once again reveals the evil and unethical conspiracy through which the State Department manipulates and twists its administration of the CPAC and the 1983 CCIA. Stealth Fighter Maria Kouroupas, and her ideologically motivated gang of activists, have again shown that they are nothing more than mere unthinking tools and creatures of the AIA, the archaeology lobby and those foreign governments who yearn to exterminate the international antiquities trade. This malignant cancer gradually penetrating, pervading and corrupting the heart of our Government must be removed at any cost and at all hazards, or it will inevitably destroy everything we stand for and all that we hold dear - including what we think of as the American way of life.
I have great respect for Peter Tompa’s expertise and well considered legal opinions, and accordingly support his view that the legal battle must continue. It seems very clear however that in the end this will not be enough, and that we must now venture to move beyond that battle into the wider and far more effective spheres of legislation. Only when the right to collect is indelibly embedded into US law by a Constitutional amendment (or some equivalent measure to the effect that the right to collect trumps any and all interests of archaeology and cultural affairs) will continuation of our traditional right to collect coins and other antiquities be permanently secured.
Bob Korver unquestionably paved the way for this immeasurable disaster by resigning, and must accept responsibility for what has happened and what will happen. We should all however recognize that there does come a time in such situations when one has absolutely had enough, and it becomes utterly impossible to go on. That is clearly the case when one is forced to live a lie, laboring in frustration and disgrace in the heart of a twisted, perverted mockery of due process whose every action pursues a policy exactly opposite to one’s inner beliefs and ethical values, that instead continually and foully contravenes the will of the American people, and damages their best interests.
Chair, International Affairs Committee