Free Dina’s Art

Days and Days and Days
February 9, 2009, 4:51 am
Filed under: Active Decency | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

February 8th marks 32 days of blogging about  Gypsy Portraits and Human Rights. The first letter from here was sent 39 days ago. It remains  unanswered. At least it didn’t elicit the base and insulting form letter previously sent by the Museum, and dealt with vicariously elsewhere in this blog.

The International Council of Museums was notified of this unseemly situation 22 days ago. Within 12 hours, its Ethics Committee members from around the globe appear, at least, to have visited and informed themselves. A written response to that notification would be nice, but the  evident  interest of ICOM is somewhat heartening nonetheless.

Then, 30 days after starting and 8 days after ICOM looked in, we got a visitor from Auschwitz, the German Death Camp in Poland. Perhaps they were inspired to visit by someone else. Whom that might be is difficult to suppose, but they are to be thanked, that’s for sure.

Someone’s letter (maybe yours?)  provoked at least some action and perhaps even second thoughts from the very people who continue to deny Dina Babbitt her Human Rights as defined in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, (article 17 and elsewhere). These same people are in violation of ICOM’s Code of Ethics for Museums in several articles, many yet to be explored here.

One of these days someone is going to make the ultimate proper decision in this matter and Dina Babbitt’s Gypsies will return to where they truly belong, her own hands.

What she chooses to do with them then,  is 100% her decision. They are her property and one would certainly expect that no one would try to impose any conditions at all on her Human Right to her own property.

And so, Dina Babbitt waits still. Since her first arrival at Auschwitz, 23,896 days have passed. Since her second arrival, about 16,659 days have passed. Those totals indicate a respectable amount of patience from anyone. To demand more is a completely unnecessary  travesty of reason and justice. The day to right the wrongs of 6 decades, is today.

This is a lady who is hourly battling the ravages of failing health and life itself with little more than hope and a few hundred decent people standing beside her – people who draw comics, who broadcast on the airwaves, and who write letters.

The right decision will be made when the right letter is received by those with the power and the conscience to take action.

That letter will come from someone who sees the simple truth. Anything less than the  immediate, unconditional return of Dina Babbitt’s property is a continuance of a vile transgression dressed in the gown of Society’s Benefit.

That they be fully respected for all persons, must be acknowledged if Human Rights are anything more than just nicely worded phrases attractively arranged on prettily decorated paper.

Human Rights are not a decoration for Society to wear as it gazes at itself in the mirror of the present day. They are the vital nourishment that will keep all societies alive and thriving throughout all the days to come; but only if we are willing to protect them each and every day.

Someone has to write the letters that remind the big shots that the little shots are watching their every move. One of these days, one of those letters will tip the scales and make the difference. Decent people will keep up the pressure until the only acceptable decision is taken. Tell them what you think. Tell them every day.  It could be your letter that finally inspires someone in authority to Free Dina’s Art.

The Museum The ICOM Ethics Committee


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