Public support for Italy’s request

These statements are taken from close to than 1,000 petitions gathered from the SAFE’s 2005 Say YES to Italy campaign. They are posted here with permission from the authors.

As a Ph.D. candidate in archaeology, I have personally witnessed the devastating effects of looting inspired by unrestricted trade in antiquities. I strongly support a renewal of the bilateral agreement to protect the cultural heritage of Italy.

Seth Button, Ann Arbor, MI

The goodwill and respect shown by the U.S. with regard to Italy’s heritage should continue on and if at all possible branch out into formerly unprotected categories of antiquities.

Adrienne Donovan, Rockland, MA

Non-renewal of the restrictions would send a very negative sign to our scientific counterparts in Italy and to the Italian cultural authorities. As Americans interested in maintaining a strong relationship between the US and Italy, we must do everything we can to ensure that these import restrictions are renewed. As scientists devoted to the discovery, interpretation, and preservation of Italy’s cultural heritage, we must do everything we can to stop the looting of that country’s precious cultural heritage.

Bernard Frischer, Charlottesville, VA

I am an archaeological professional and am deeply heartened by cooperative, international efforts such as the US/Italy antiquities agreement. It represents all the best ideals of shared knowledge, respect, and responsability.

C.J. H., Somerville, MA

Backing Italy’s laws prohibiting the export of their cultural property with laws prohibiting the import into the USA is the only ethical and right way to maintain the valuable historical past and to preserve international relations.

Lisa Kahn, Tampa, FL

The bilateral agreement with Italy will help prevent the despoilation of archaeological sites. It is imperative to vote YES.

John F. Kenfield, Princeton, NJ

The whole world is indebted to Italy for the invention and preservation of so many works of art and cultural heritage–we owe them this assistance in carrying the burden of protecting the history of civilization.

Anna Kirwan, Sunderland, MA

The treasures of the past are bequeathed to all of us and to all of our descendents. They should not be stolen from sites or museums for the financial profit and pleasure of the few.

H. M., West Midlands, UK

Please renew the agreement. It is extremely important for the understanding of the past to prevent illegal export and import of ancient artifacts. Only in the proper context of find spots can artifacts be best interpreted.

Martha J. Payne, Muncie, IN

Our history is a non-renewable resource. Don’t squander it.

Matthew Piscitelli, Boston, MA

Please honor Italy’s cultural heritage by continuing restrictions on antiquities that have been stolen from museums and archaeological sites. Heaven knows we need to maintain the few international friendships we still have. This is the decent thing to ask.

R.G.S., Gainesville, GA

Archaeological sites are finite resources and it is the job of governing authorities to protect our cultural heritage.

Lacey Wallace, Brighton, MA

The agreement thus far has had positive effects, such as greater cooperation between the two countries in loaning items for exhibits, and growing police protection for cultural sites and objects within Italy. The restrictions in place have been instrumental in allowing these positive developments, and it is imperative that the U.S. renews this agreement to continue to help Italy protect its cultural heritage. To do otherwise would be a major regression from the last several years’ work and would promote the destruction of cultural knowledge and understanding.

Marni Blake Walter, Westmoreland, NH

“I am surprised in a way, to even have to write this letter. Why should we need to discuss whether or not to do the right thing toward Italy or any other nation. It would be yet another sign of America's moral decline if we fail to honor Italy and help preserve her extraordinary heritage.”

Phyllis Halterman, New York, NY