"Commemorating an Infamous Milestone
- Leo Tolstoy: "Epitaph" he would like "for history and posterity"
- Two Sham Letters by Two Museums
- A Disgraceful Letter by the American Association of Museums
- Should Congress Impose Sanctions on Educational Institutions and on Educators who "Counterfeit" the Truth Deliberately?
ForewordThis paper is an expose' to inform people that two cultural/educational institutions are hurting arts and sciences, Egyptology and Museology, and the Public at large. It is about the true, appalling and incredible story of the controversy on the Mansoor Amarna Collection (M.A.C.) of Limestone Sculptures, dating back to the Pharaonic Period of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, circa 1350 BC. In its simplest form, the story could be condensed as follows:
Sculptures from the M.A.C. were given to the laboratory of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (BMFA) for scientific examination, and their "expert," Mr. William J. Young, who was - I've been told - a specialist in paintings, but totally incompetent and inexperienced to examine Egyptian limestone objects, declared in his "TECHNICAL EXAMINATION" of I 949 that his examinations "clearly indicate that the pieces in question are of fairly modem origin." Needless to state that his report is a real blunder as it contains no scientific truth whatsoever. Although other scientific reports were obtained from several eminent scientists in leading world institutions and contradicted Mr. Young's in harsh terms, and although those reports were also given in the nineteen fifties to the BMFA, this Museum is, and has been totally reluctant to re-evaluate their own report - which the Mansoors paid for. The fifty-year appeal of the Mansoors, as well as appeals and requests of other fine people for a re-evaluation of the matter, were met with an obdurate silence from the BMFA and from an acolyte, the Brooklyn Museum of Art (BMA). Since the nineteen fifties, common gossip as well as false and sanctimonious rumors, originating from the two institutions, are rampant and the Mansoors object most vehemently to the status quo and, in a very particular way, to the contemptible rumors.
Leo Tolstoy: "Epitaph" he would like "for history and posterity"
Leo Nikolaievich Tolstoy (1828-1910), one of Russia's greatest authors ("War and Peace," "Tales from Sebastopol," "Anna Karenina"), wrote:
"The epitaph that I would like for history and posterity would say: I conceal nothing. It is not enough not to lie. One should strive not to lie in a negative sense by remaining silent."
In the last few years and since the end of 1999, I wrote, commented, and gave a humble opinion in my personal website -amarnamansoor.com, as well as in my e-mails and exposés about what I know to be false, and/or nefarious, sham, and infamous statements by two museums in reference to the M.A.C. I did complain about some vile, baseless and rampant rumors circulating since the fifties on the Collection and on the Mansoors, and originating from the two museums, among them that the Mansoor Family brought a lawsuit against the BMFA, and I have always stated that it was not true for the simple reason and fact that it never happened. And officials at both institutions received my writings - at times by Certified Mail with "Return Receipt Requested." But I was not certain about the exact wordings on some of the ugly rumors circulating which are nothing but aberrations. Now, after reading a couple of sham letters by the two museums, the BMFA and the BMA, which were addressed to a Taiwanese gentleman who was requesting a re-evaluation of the M.A.C., I do not know what to think anymore? Whether the two institutions have been acting with malice and hypocrisy in reference to the "Mansoor affair," as the matter has been called by some, and/or whether they are just irresponsible, unconscious or simply wrong in the false statements they make? Have they been lying to the public deliberately for over fifty years? Often, I think that the two institutions have, and are still misleading and betraying the public that sustain them. And at times, I am convinced they are lying. I'll reproduce the two abhorrent letters in a little while and, like my usual, I'll be speaking my truth, my common sense, my mind, my peace, and my conscience. And of course, my honest, sincere, and much considered opinion.
Common Sense To Ponder
If I am also giving some importance to common sense and mine in particular, readers should know that, in my site, I have listed some common sense - to be considered in evaluating the controversy over the M.A.C. - which I believe educated people will accept as valid. Without being at all conceited, since I am noted as being an extremely humble man, I'd like to mention that in the last two or three years, I wrote and sent "To the Editor" my comments on a 'variety of articles published by the Los Angeles Daily News, and this newspaper published several of them. And since I retired in this beautiful and scenic State of Idaho, I sent my comments to our leading daily newspaper, The Idaho Statesman, and they published a few of them. But of utmost importance, I also sent no more than three times in my life my comments to TIME, and I pride myself that this leading world magazine (circulation 3 million?), published once my comment on June 10, 2002- out of hundreds letters to the Editor they receive weekly from readers around the world. The various subjects I commented on are not related to Egyptology or museology in any way, but if I am mentioning all this, it's to tell the reader - again without being conceited -that if some of my comments have been published in publications of wide and world exposure, it means that my reasoning and/or logic, and especially my common sense are just as good as anyone else's, and that some people agree to it. Please, click on "Common Sense to Ponder" in my website, and decide whether my common sense makes sense or not.
The effort and writing of the Mansoors, including mine, have not yet given the results expected - that this matter should be re-evaluated in an honest and scholarly manner. I was somewhat naive, and thought that all museums are honest and that all museologists are people of integrity, and that some of them would volunteer, or to use a term that has been used so shamefully in a negative sense by the BMA, would get "involved'" in a scientific matter of great importance and interest to all -mostly, ironically, and especially to museums. But, I have to admit that I was wrong. As it has been written before, a museum will never "rat" on another. Some people or institutions may use the term "involved" to scare away people from evaluating or investigating the Mansoor "affair," like the BMA did. When you really consider it, to get "involved" in the matter of the M.A.C. is really to seek and reveal the truth in it. But the two museums have displayed a total disregard of the truth -in particular the scientific truth. To get involved in this matter is to help people from around the world to know the truth about it, and decide whether the M.A.C. is ancient or not. For this, obviously the truth has to be known, and people would certainly agree that most - if not all museums - that are cultural and educational institutions, are supposed to be truthful and honest, and since they claim and state that they "exist to serve the public and they will continue to provide these services to the utmost of their ability and their resources," should only speak the truth.
The truth? The two museums don't want the public to even think about it since there's overwhelming scientific truth surrounding the M.A.C. confirming its authenticity, and it is not in their beet interests to declare today that it is ancient, or to admit that they've been making errors concerning that Collection for over half a century. They are afraid that if they do, it would put a colossal question mark on their ability and/or integrity and, of course, on some of their holdings. Why? One of the reasons is because some museums own and have on display some artifacts that are doubtful, that some people think and state that they are spurious. For instance in the case of the BMFA, the most eminent Prof. Norman Herz, Director of the Center for Archaeological Sciences, University of Georgia, sent me a letter on June 9, 1987 in which he wrote:
"First of all, about Mr. Young of the Boston Museum: I agree with Professor Turner that he is not competent in fields that are essential to evaluate antiquities. I volunteered to analyze the Boston Museum's relief, allegedly part of the Ludovici relief In Rome, by isotopic methods. The Italians say the Boston piece is a forgery, but Young did a variety of meaningless tests to demonstrate that it was authentic. Needless to say, Mr. Young refused to send me any material to analyze, adding that he had proven authenticity beyond any reasonable doubt.
"Young's statement on dendrites is pure nonsense (as many of his other statements). His ideas on UV examination as an indication of age falls In the same category."The story of the M.A.C is "fascinating."
After reading "Je Cherche un Homme" by this writer, the late Prof. Francis J. Turner, UC Berkeley, Geology, Member of the National Academy of Sciences, and one of the leading world geologists of our time (please read his outstanding credentials on page 15 of "The Truth..."), sent me in 1971 a few lines saying:
"Many thanks for your brochure 'Je Cherche un Homme.' It is a fascinating story even though it is an unfortunate one for you personally, and I think for the history of Egyptian art.
"I hope one day that you indeed 'find a man.'"
Needless to point out that when Prof. Turner said he hoped that I "find a man," he meant an honest man in every respect, not only by words. And he is so right to think that the story is also "unfortunate for the history of Egyptian art."The story of the M.A.C. is a true story that some scholars do not want the public to know.
Although the fallacious report by the BMFA "expert," which is clearly of no scientific value according to some eminent scientists, and the outstanding and authoritative report of the most eminent Prof. Leon T. Silver, Geochemistry and Geological Sciences, CALTECH, who was also a Consultant to N.A.S.A., are reproduced in "Je Cherche. .. ," I have no doubt whatsoever that anyone who would read that publication as well as my second one, "The Truth Is On The March," will find this publication even more fascinating than the first one as there's more overwhelming scientific evidence added to it since 1971. And, there's also more sham statements by the two Museums as well as by a very few Egyptologists who were misled by the BMFA's report, and the BMA's opinion. Needless to add that after reading it, and in particular in considering that overwhelming scientific truth, no one in his right mind would have today the courage to state publicly that the M.A.C. is not genuine. "The Truth...," written in the early nineties is more detailed than "Je Cherche...," and simply put, it is a true story that some Egyptologists and museologists do not want people to know. Readers, in particular scholars, after reading it, or even skimming through it, should insist - and definitely not resist - a re-evaluation or an investigation of the M.A.C.
"Truth is incontrovertible," wrote a great man
I beg all readers to forgive me if, at times, I repeat myself- even from previous papers - as I am always addressing new people every time I write. I am just exposing what I strongly suspect to be foul play by a couple of our institutions, which is polluting the air surrounding the Mansoor Amarna controversy with: gossip and rumors, obfuscations, errors and/or lies, devious innuendoes, prejudice, incompetence in arts and/or sciences, malice and/or hypocrisy, scientific illiteracy and intellectual dishonesty, possible obstruction of justice, corruption, conspiracy and cover-up - in a word, CRIME! Generally speaking, truth will always surface in particular in a scientific matter. As Winston Churchill said:
"Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end: there it is."
Two Sham Letters by Two Museums
On December 14, 2001 a Taiwanese gentleman, a very good and a long-time friend of mine, wrote two identical letters to both Directors of the BMFA and the BMA, and I am reproducing them below. Answers to the two letters follow:
Brief Anatomv of Exhibit No.42
Exhibits Nos. 41 and 43 need no comment since the author, Mr. Huang, is simply requesting in a respectful manner from both Museums a re-evaluation of the Mansoor Amarna Collection.
Concerning Exhibit No.42, in reading the statement by Dr. Malcolm Rogers that he has "no doubt that they [the Mansoor family] are fine people," and I do thank him cordially for this unexpected remark, I'd like to state that I do believe that he definitely is sincere in saying it and he did mean it, otherwise he would not be telling the truth if he was just saying it to please Mr. Huang. Since the Mansoor Family are "fine people," can anyone tell me why an educational institution would not cooperate with a "fine family?" Can anyone tell me why the Museum never responded to the appeals of the Mansoors to reevaluate their defective report especially that they paid for it? And then Dr. Rogers states that there is a "long history of issues between our institution [the BMFA] and the Mansoor Family, including a lawsuit they brought against us." These allegations of a lawsuit are definitely not true. The "long history of issues" dates back to 1949 when the Museum created it with their infamous report. Can this scholar, and I want to believe that he is a fine gentleman and a true scholar, can he just tell us what are those issues, or name only one beside the "supposed" lawsuit he is claiming so erroneously, that the Mansoor Family brought against the BMFA? I want to state here, emphatically, that his allegation of a lawsuit against his museum is utterly false and is possibly an error on his part and, if it is not recognized as such, it will then be noted as a deliberate lie. I hold that an error becomes a lie if not admitted and retracted. Only great people or great institutions will admit errors.
If I am, today and for the last four years, showing disrespect to the two Museums, it is because my repeated fervent appeals have remained ignored. I have no respect any more for the two institutions since they neither respect the Mansoors nor the public. And I did write in one of my papers that the two Museums are responsible for the way I talk about them. I think of them as partners in crime since, as said by Dr. Dietrich von Bothmer, a scholar of the Metropolitan Museum of Art: "No scholar should ever call a real work of art a forgery. That is a crime." The two Museums are destroying our property, and vandalism is a crime.
Since Dr. Rogers has "no doubt" that the Mansoor Family is a fine one, can anyone kindly ask him if it is honest from the BMFA to sell a defective report to the Mansoor Family and to not follow up with their valid complaint concerning it? What do people want me to think other than the Mansoor Family may have been cheated by the BMFA? Was the Museum of good faith when it sold us that report? And if the BMFA was wrong selling the Mansoors that report in 1949, is it any reason for the present authorities of the Museum to persist and close their eyes and ears to our pleas, to the point of deliberately willing to sacrifice the stunning and unique Amarna Collection instead of admitting a simple error? Can't they show a little good will in this matter? Kind Readers, please believe that the real issues have been created by the BMFA's report and the obstinate reluctance of this institution to re-evaluate it. The Museum is holding the Mansoor Family responsible of "a long history of issues" when it should be the other way around. Another issue the Mansoors dislike is what I think to be the shameful and low tactics of the BMFA in stating and spreading false, malicious and vicious rumors that the "Mansoor Family brought a lawsuit" against the Museum. Isn't the Museum, to discourage people from looking into the matter, trying to depict the Mansoors as trouble-makers? Aren't they scaring away people? And this has been going on for over half a century! These are real issues the BMFA created, perhaps unintentionally, that should and must be corrected.
Brief Anatomy of Exhibit No.44
Exhibit No.44 is something else. It is repulsive to me - to say the least. In reading it again and in considering some infamous BMA previous letters that I commented on in "The Truth...," in which errors or lies are inherent, shouldn't I think that the Brooklyn Museum of Art typifies the intellectually dishonest institution noted for its slyness, obfuscation, hypocrisy, and malice? Should I also think that this establishment is a puppet of the BMFA?
A) To begin with, I believe that Dr. Lehman should have never given Mr. Huang's letter to Dr. Fazzini to answer since it was addressed to him personally as Director of the Museum, in particular that Dr. Fazzini himself- as he claims - has no "personal knowledge of the Mansoor Amarna Collection." Simple common sense: how could Dr. Fazzini answer or discuss something he has no "personal knowledge" of?
B) Mr. Huang has urged the BMA "to re-evaluate" its own opinion, the Museum's opinion, concerning the M.A.C. - and not the personal opinion of any of its officials. Contrary to what Dr. Fazzini claims, we are definitely not talking about: "the personal opinion of an individual member of museum staff [Dr. John D. Cooney] who retired long ago and is now deceased." It is clearly the Museum's opinion we're talking about. Please consider the following sentence that I have quoted a few times in the past, by that "individual member of museum staff," and I quote him once more from that letter dated December 9, 1958 addressed to Dr. Fred H. Stross. He stated:
"In a few cases, I have had the sculptures here for examination and without exception it has been our conclusion that the sculptures give every indication of a recent origin."
When Dr. Cooney - the individual member of museum staff- wrote "here," he, of course, meant at the BMA since the Museum had them on its premises for examination (please see Exhibit # 1). As for his "our conclusion," and since he did not write "my conclusion," it definitely means that it is the conclusion of the Museum, the BMA, and not his "personal opinion." What's more, the letter was written on BMA's stationery.
C) The mere fact that Dr. Fazzini mentions "the personal opinion" of that "individual member of museum staff who retired long ago and is now deceased" makes me believe that he has some personal knowledge of the Mansoor Amarna Collection and what happened years ago. How does he know about "the personal opinion" of that "individual member...?" Didn't he state that he has no personal knowledge of the M.A.C.?
D) It should be clear to everybody that the BMA is washing its hands, and doesn't want to assume any responsibility from whatever wrong was stated by any of its officials - even though the Mansoors asked for no monetary compensation and requested only redress. Just like the BMFA, that Museum is adamant and utterly reluctant to correct the errors it made in the past. Also in reality, and contrary to what Dr. Fazzini said, it is more than only one "individual member of museum staff," who gave an erroneous opinion on the M.A.C., and I am not going to delve on this at this time. As known, it is definitely the responsibility of any serious and honest establishment to correct errors made at any time by any of its officials. But the authorities of the Museum conveniently ignore their own errors - hiding them under their own rugs.
E) Dr. Fazzini claims also that none of the scholars in the Egyptian Department of the BMA has a personal knowledge of the Mansoor Amarna Collection. Personally, I think he was told to say what he wrote. I have no doubt whatsoever that quite a few scholars or perhaps all in that department have good knowledge of the Collection since I e-mailed my papers to the BMA. In other writing, I may have to give details to support my belief. Suffice to cite at this moment that I sent to Dr. Fazzini and other museum officials e-mails concerning the Collection, besides a personal, Certified Open Letter dated September 15, 2000 wnich was addressed to him when he was President of ARCE, and which is still in view in my web site as well as the postal receipt attesting that the letter was received. (There was no answer to this letter by him or by ARCE). Also the fact that some of my writing, including "The Truth..." are in the Wilbour Library at the BMA (please refer to Exhibit #23, a letter by the most eminent Dr. Geoffrey T. Martin). What's more, a letter received from Ms. J. B. of San Francisco, while the 1986 Exhibit of the Mansoor Amarna Collection was in progress at San Francisco State University, makes me believe that Dr. Fazzini knows at least some about the M.A.C. Ms. J. B. wrote on 10/20/1986 to Mansoor saying: "I spoke today with the Richard Fazzini's from the Brooklyn Museum and although they do not know exactly what their plans will be while they are here in San Francisco, (only for a few days) they will make every effort to see your collection."
There's really more to say about that BMA letter, but I guess it's enough for the time being..
Concerning the Taiwan correspondence, my brother Henri wrote to Dr. Fazzini once, and to Dr. Rogers twice, but he never received any answer. Since the BMFA claims that the Mansoors brought a lawsuit against the Museum, I'd like to quote Henri in his two letters to the BMFA, and also reproduce the statement "TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN" that accompanied the second letter. Henri wrote to Dr. Rogers the following on March 8, 2002:
"Mr. Samuel S.M. Huang has forwarded to us a copy [*] of your letter dated January 7, 2002 which was in response to his letter of December 14, 2001.
I wish to thank you for your kind words regarding the Mansoor Family. However, I am mystified by your reference to a lawsuit brought by the Mansoor Family against the Museum. We have never filed a lawsuit against the Museum or anyone else who has expressed an opinion regarding the Mansoor Amarna Collection, nor do we intend to do so. Rather we value your interest in using new technologies to examine objects in the Collection and invite you to do so. We will be pleased to cooperate with you in such an endeavor.
Please contact me to set up the details as to how to proceed with the testing."
[*] NOTE from the writer, ERM: Samuel S.M. Huang sent me at a later date the original two letters he received from the two Museums.
When Henri received no answer to his first letter, he sent again another one to Dr. Rogers one month later, and to be exact, in April 8, 2002. He wrote:
"I mailed you a letter dated March 8, 2002, copy of which is enclosed.
As you mentioned in your letter dated January 7, 2002, to Mr. Samuel S.M. Huang, "I think your idea of using some of the new technologies to examine the objects is a fine one." Do you think the Boston Museum of Fine Arts would be interested in pursuing such a project for the benefit of the art world?
Your early reply will be appreciated."
And below his signature, Henri added,
Enclosures: Copy of Letter of March 8, 2002
Copy of "To Whom lt May Concern," Statement [dated April 8, 2002]
The following is the Statement sent by Henri with that letter dated April 8, and has the same date:
"TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
'It has recently come to the attention of the Mansoor Family that there exists a widespread belief of litigation against any individual or establishment positing a negative opinion of the MANSOOR AMARNA COLLECTION. The Mansoor Family wish it to be known this belief is based upon a long-standing misconception and is without foundation.
'Whilst the fear of litigation against any individual or establishment persists, there can be no meaningful discussion concerning the Mansoor Amarna Collection. In order to promote goodwilll and to encourage the discussion and study of the Mansoor Amarna Collection, the Mansoor Family issues the following statement:
'With regard to any opinion, positive or otherwise, appertaining to the authenticity of the Mansoor Collection, the MANSOOR FAMILY HAS NOT TAKEN, NOR WILL IT EVER TAKE, LEGAL ACTION AGAINST: any academic establishment or museum; an official of any academic establishment or museum; any individual archaeologist, Egyptologist or scholar; any other person whomsoever. Lawsuits are a matter of public record, and we invite anyone, anywhere - i.e. in any Country or any state - to prove otherwise.'
The purpose of this statement is twofold - firstly, as an assurance that all opinions on the Mansoor Amarna Collectilon can be discussed openly and without prejudice and, secondly, as an instrument to curtail the perpetuation of the rumor that an adverse opinion will quickly result in legal action by the Mansoor Family.
The Mansoor Family thanks everyone kind enough to raise the awareness of this statement amongst their colleagues and peers."
At my request, a few friends beside my long-time Chinese good friend, Samuel S. M. Huang, wrote to the BMFA and the BMA, requesting a re-evaluation of the M.A.C. Needless to say that none of them (except Mr. Samuel S. M. Huang) ever received an answer. But I'd like to quote a little of what some wrote to the two Museums, and I'll also quote the whole letter that another very dear and long-time friend, Mr. Maurice G. Melkonian, sent to the two Museums.
In his e-mail dated 6/30/02, Mr. Sherif Shokralla, who is also related to me as he is one of the fine nephews of my dear and beautiful wife of fifty years, and who obviously knows a great deal about the whole "Mansoor affair," wrote from California the following:
"I've just read recently about the latest opinions and communications between yourselves and Mr. Samuel S. M. Huang, Mr. Henri Mansoor and others. I was shocked and puzzled by your actions, or lack of it.
"Though this controversy has been going on for over 50 years, I think that it's time for you gentlemen to look seriously into this matter again once and for all...
"I don't see what is the point from not looking at this collection one more time. There will be one or two outcomes, no more. The new evidence will either prove your point again, or it'll correct any errors that were made before. You owe it to the world of Egyptology, the Museum world, the Mansoors and also to yourselves...
"The Talilban thought wrongly about what the statues of Buddhas meant, and they destroyed them. No amount of reasoning would make them change their minds. Now those one of a kind priceless unique beautiful statues no longer exist. Please don't act like the Talilban..."
On 7/2/02, Abdallah Melkonian, M.D., e-mailed from Wisconsin the following:
"I have known the Mansoor family for 30 years, specially Edmond. They are most honest people I ever knew. All they are asking for is to decide once for all the authenticity of these pieces or not, using the latest ways tests available. I hope this will settle the problem once for all...
"I hope that you can reconsider this matter and bring an honest and fair closure to it."
On 7/26/02, Mr. Osama M. Hijji e-mailed from Egypt quite an interesting letter, and I'll quote some of the lines he wrote:
"In the Orient 'God' is not only a 'De facto,' but He is also the source of all our values and the base of our culture whether in Islam, Christianity, Judaism or even Buddhism. In spite of this, we had everyday, every hour and second to prove that God exists, we had to answer the innocent questions of our children in schools, and to explain it to those about to lose their faith because of the injustice in this world.
"Thousands of years passed since Akhenaton, Moses, Jesus and Mohammed said there is one god. Today More than 3 Billions on earth believe in God, and it is still a matter open for discussion and needs to be proven, and this makes me wonder how come an opinion only 50 years old is not for discussion? Mr. Edmond Mansoor is not one of [my] relatives, and I am not one of [his] relatives. I am not entitled to defend his views as I do not know him in person and I am not an archaeologist, but the point is we must be able "Always" to prove our ideas regardless of how much we consider it factual, and as much as I know "Silence" never proved anything...
".. .All I want and I'm sure you too want is that "Justice Prevails."
The letter that my good and long-time "buddy," Mr. Maurice G. Melkonian sent on July 9, 2002, is the following:
"This concerns the Mansoor Family and the Mansoor Amarna Collection.
"I have known Edmond R. Mansoor since 1936, and he has been my buddy since then. In fact, right after the Senior Mansoor Gallery burned down with the Shepheard's Hotel in January 1952, I went, with another friend, into partnership with Robert selling Art Objects and Jewelry. In the more than sixty-five years that I've known him and been his closest friend, I conclude with no hesitation that he is simply a man of greatest integrity and of good heart.
"I was really lucky to know the old Mr. Mansoor even before my partnership with Robert, and he used to drop in our business for a chat. Needless to talk about his integrity as it should never be questioned. He was one of the finest gentlemen I've met in my life. Apart from being extremely kind, he was generous and amiable. To say that he was knowledgeable in Egyptian art and antiquities would be an understatement. lt was really his life and love, after his wife and ten children. His place of business in the old Shepheard's Hotel was indeed like a museum. Besides being his customers, a few kings and VIP famous people were his friends, and they used to ask him to accompany them to the Egyptian Museum or to an ancient Egyptian site. Indeed Dr. Rogers was right to say that the Mansoor Family are fine people.
"As I have read a great deal about the Mansoor Amarna Collection, I see no valid reason not to re-evaluate it and examine it scientifically in light of new technologies and new discoveries of ancient Egyptian civilization in the last fifty years. We are talking about an extremely rare collection from the Amarna period, one of the least known periods of ancient Egypt, yet one of its most fascinating. You know much better than I do, as scholars knowledgeable in art do, that Egyptologists have called its art "enigmatic." To test the Collection and re-evaluate it would be a win-win situation as no matter the result, whether ancient or not, you would get credit for it.
"I would like to thank you for any consideration you will give this matter.
(Signed) Maurice G. Meolkonian
Needless to repeat that none of the two Museums answered any of the letters they received except that of Mr. Huang. Isn't this proof of their bad faith? Is it polite or ethical for an educational institution not to answer letters requesting assistance on a scientific matter? I wonder why the two museurns answered only Mr. Huang in particular that the others were also respectful in their requests. Is it possible that they did not answer MM. Shokralla, Hijii, the Melkonians and possibly others as they realized that the letters they sent to Mr. Huang were blunders? Are Museums disdaining the public? And once more, whatever happened to the claim of the American Association of Museums that "Museums exist to serve the public and they will continue to provide these services to the utmost of their ability and resources"? Are Museums serving the public "to the utmost" by adamantly refusing to answer letters/questions and/or appeals from the public? Can any cultural/educational establishment or scholar make a grave error and not correct it? Can any good and honest American, in good conscience, deny justice to anyone, in particular to a "fine" person? Do Museum officials know what is "due process?" Isn't it deplorable that a kind and friendly foreigner, Mr. Samuel S. M. Huang, from thousands of miles away, is reminding a couple of our American institutions that "Americans not only believe in justice for all, but also live by it?"
A Disgraceful Letter bv the American Association of Museums
Speaking of the AAM, and even though it is listed in my site as Exhibit No.37, I am inserting the contents of a letter I received from that Association. It was in response to my Open Letter to the AAM dated April 17, 2000 and which is still in my personal site. Dr. Edward H. Able , Jr., President & CEO., AAM, wrote on September28, 2000 the following:
Dear Mr. Mansoor:
The assistance that you seek is beyond the purview of the mission of American Association of Museums (AAM). For nearly a century, the AAM has dedicated its efforts towards promoting excellence within the museum community. Through advocacy, professional education, information exchange, accreditation, and guidance on current professional standards of performance, AAM assists museum staff, boards, and volunteers across the country to better serve the public. In addition, the AAM, in its efforts to maintain professional ethics and objectivity, must respect the sovereignty of individual museums.
Thus, we are not a policing organization. Likewise, the association does not impose itself upon disputes between private persons and museums, regardless of the facts of an individual case. As you may be aware, several mechanisms exist to address such grievances from the state attorney general to alternative dispute resolution to formal court proceedings. We encourage you to end your correspondence with us and refrain from your efforts to publicly coerce the association into your private dispute. For the foregoing reasons, your efforts to draw AAM into your dispute are not only misplaced, but unfair.
(Signed) Edward H. Able, Jr.
As the reader will understand, I don't like this letter, and I never expected such an answer. As far as I am concerned, and with respect to Dr. Able personally, I consider it a "disgraceful letter" from the AAM. My comments and opinion:
I do not doubt that the AAM is doing its best to improve museology in this country. This, I definitely don't doubt. But if for "nearly a century," after the Association "has dedicated its efforts towards promoting excellence within the museum community," and "Through advocacy, professional education, ... on current professional standards of performance," and all what Dr. Able is mentioning, if, I was saying, I notice that a couple of museums members of the Association are misleading he public, ignoring some of the most elementary ethics including not answering, not one, but several letters from the public they are supposed to serve to their "utmost," where or to whom am I supposed to complain to? If I notice that a couple of Museums are confusing, misleading and/or possibly lying to the public, where shall I take my complalnt? To an association of Jewelers, Dentists, Restauranteurs?
Do we include in "promoting excellence" the fact that the BMFA sold a defective report to the Mansoors and that this Museum is refusing to revise for over fifty years? Is keeping a stony silence on a scientific matter by a museum considered 'professional standard of excellence?" Is the AAM really maintaining "professional ethics and objectivity by implying that I am 'unfair" towards their Association? Are the two concerned Museums "fair" towards me and/or the Mansoors? Are they fair towards the public? Do the respected people from the public deserve the disdain the Museums have displayed towards them by not answering their letters? Did anyone notice anything "unfair" from the part of any of those fine gentlemen who only requested a re-evaluation of the matter?
I do not expect any answer from the AAM to the foregoing questions, but I think that Dr. Able is definitely wrong in implying that the matter of the controversy over the Mansoor Amarna Collection is a "private dispute" between the two Museums and myself. This is far from being a private dispute since it concerns the public, arts and sciences, Egyptology and museology and, to be sure, American Museums. Furthermore, it does concern the share holders of the Mansoor Amarna Corporation who are all Americans, and some of them of different ethnicity and not related in any way to the Mansoors. If the AAM claims all those good things they are doing for the Museums as well as for the public, how come I am asking myself the following: 1) Has the Association been asking or encouraging Museums, for "nearly a century, "not to answer people from the public when there's a problem concerning museums in general, as well as the public? 2) Has the Association been encouraging Museums not to tell the truth to the public? I'd like, with the readers kind permission, to ask one more question: which is better: to settle a matter in a friendly way and, as I stated previously, with no embarassment or loss of any kind, and with no monetary compensation to any party, or to give the matter "formal court proceedings?"
How naive and wrong I was in thinking that the AAM would bring my letter to the attention of the two Museums in a constructive manner, by requesting a review of the matter. Now, after receiving that letter which seems to suggest to me to take legal action against the two Museums, what do people want me to think? Is the AAM trying to discourage or intimidate me? Will the AAM be happy if this matter goes to court? Will it hurt other Museums? Will any court of law give reason to personal opinions or to overwhelming scientific evidence?
We have seen that some people, like Mr. Sherif Shokralla, and I fully agree with him, think that the actions of the two Museums in this instance looks more like the actions of the "Taliban" in regards to art objects. Regardless of what it is, what the Taliban don't like or don't understand, or is against their beliefs, they destroy. I did mention in some of my writings, and I am under oath, that some people think that museums are "Mafia." And some people think, like Mr. Osama Hijji and I also fully agree with this kind gentleman, that "Silence never proved anything." But please, wait a minute, maybe both Mr. Hijji and myself are "wrong:" I wonder if the resounding and eternal "silence" of the two Museums is proving anything? I wonder if it's eloquent enough to induce the public, if not Congress, to get "involved?"
So, a copy of Dr. Able's letter went to the two Museums. I now ask myself: Is the AAM covering up for the two Museums? it seems to me that the two Museums will remain silent, and will not act in a constructive way to settle that matter. In fact, I think that the "cc" added in Dr. Able's letter to both Museums seems to me to be sending them a message saying: "It's OK, you have the blessings of the AAM, ignore the Mansoors and the public; the AAM is standing firm behind you." This is just an opinion and, as known, an opinion is not necessarily a fact. In other words, I may be wrong. Am I? For the reader's information, I have sent my complaints and a copy of my letters to other museums members of the AAM, but received no answer from any of them. Shall I think that they are also covering up for the two Museums? Is there a conspiracy among some of our American Museums? Shall I follow a suggestion from one of my younger brothers, to list and publish the names of all museums I've sent my writings to, so people will know and decide whether there's a conspiracy or cover up in this matter?
What's more, shall I, as that brother of mine further suggested, list also the names of people and in particular scholars who have received some of my e-mails and did not answer, or are afraid to speak up or, as said by one of the two Museums, do not want to be "involved" in a scientific matter? I wonder if some of those scholars were told not to answer me or the public, and in particular not to get "involved?"
In previous writings as well as in my open letter dated April 17, 2000 to Dr. Able, I mentioned that the Mansoons were indeed "involved" in a constructive way with museums. We believed in Museums and to a few, we have donated and volunteered as best when we could. I'd like, at this time, to quote what I wrote in a paper dated 12/7/01 and which I e-mailed to many Egyptologists and Museologists, as well as to the AAM. I said:
"Many museologists know that the Mansoors - beside donating to Museums - have also participated in some of their Exhibits, giving them on loan a number of their ancient Egyptian 'treasures.' In a humble way, they have somewhat assisted or helped quite a few museums. And sadly, it seems to me that the AAM is now kicking them in their rear ends !"
Any museologist who would read that letter as well as some of my other writings, would know for a fact, no matter how little and constructive it was, that we were "involved " in a good way with museums, and would really be ashamed of the actions -"or lack of it - that the two Museums have shown towards the Mansoors in that Mansoor "affair". But please, to save the readers time, and with their kind permission, let me quote few paragraphs of my letter to Dr. Able. I wrote to him the following:
"At this time, I want to be a little personal. I want you to know that I have secured a moderate retirement for my old days, and I have to confess that it is thanks to some American museums. Some fifteen years before I retired in 1988, I was mostly in retail business selling jewelry, gifts, and some antiques, and I was devoting perhaps a quarter of my activities to wholesale. Some of my wholesale accounts ware museum gift stores, and as I had most satisfactory business relations with these stores, I concentrated all my time, energy and activities to wholesaling to museum stores. I then joined their most respected Museum Store Association and became an MSA Associate member. Needless to say, I was respected by all members of the association, whether buyers or store managers, and even by my colleagues. Should you refer to the Fall 1988 issue of the MSA magazine and open up to page 37, you'll read the following concerning their Nashville Recap of their Annual Convention.: 'The convention ended with a Gala "Country Jamboree.'- Delegates danced and socialized the night away. Retiring Associate Edmond Mansoor, owner of Mansoor Imports, was recognized for his years of involvement with the MSA" (emphasis added).
"As I wrote earlier; I secured my retirement thanks to the business I had with the museum stores. One museum store gave me a tremendous business through the years, and, as a sign of gratitude, I took two of their officials, the Marketing Director and the Direct Mail Manager, on a buying trip to Hong Kong and China. I introduced them to my main suppliers, and made sure they received the same export prices I was getting. When you read my Web site amarnamansoor.com you'll read on page 2 of my story, The Truth Is On The March..., a Sworn statement that all I will be writing about this matter is true: I never made one dollar from either the sellers or the buyers, and this could be verified with the concerned museum, or the two lovely persons I took along in that buying trip.
"The marketing director of that museum wrote to me recently (we've been keeping in touch since my retirement, i.e. for twelve years), [even after I moved to Idaho not too long ago], that their direct mail business reached $18 miillon last year and that I was somewhat instrumental to their success. I still have letters from some MSA members that I cherish since we became friends. After that 1988 Orient trip, I received a letter [dated March21, 1988] from the direct mail manager in which she wrote:
Dear Robert: [Only relatives and close friends call me Robert]
What a wonderful trip we had! There doesn't seem to be any way I can appropriately thank you for all your help; you've opened doors for (name of Museum) that will help us for years to come. It is difficult to explain to everyone at (name of Museum) how much we learned..
Most of all, Robert, I want to thank you for adding so much to our trip personally; it was such a pleasure traveling together and getting to know you. I want to wish you the very best in your work on the [Mansoor Amarna] collection; I am sure you will succeed in your efforts to authenticate it.'
'Needless to say, sooner or later, God willing I shall 'succeed' in my 'efforts to authenticate it.' Of this, I am convinced as 'the Truth is on the march and nothing will stop her..'
If I have quoted part of the above letter. it is to show you that I think and speak of the Collection to most people I make friends with [It is a fifty year obsession I can't get rid of, as well as a duty I can never ignore]. And they all know that some museums have hurt us, and are trying to vandalize or destroy our property..."
Thus, as readers just read, I had the honor of being "recognized" for my years of "involvement" with the Museum Store Association. Now, I'd like to quote a statement I found in my records, dated September 30, 1991. It's also written on letterhead of that leading Museum for which I am eternally grateful for giving me years of excellent business:
"To Whom ft May Concern:
"It has been my pleasure to do business with Mr. Edmond Mansoor since I joined the (name of Museum) staff In 1981. Over the years Mr. Mansoor has provided (name of Museum) with quality merchandise at an excellent cost, and has helped us develop our business in many ways. For example, in 1988 Mr. Mansoor took the Marketing Director of (name of Museum) and me to China to teach us how to purchase directly overseas. For this he received no compensation, but did it as friend of (name of Museum). We are indeed grateful to him for this generosity that goes far beyond the relationship one would expect from any vendor.
"In all our dealings, Mr. Mansoor has been honest, open, and accommodating. He is a man of integrity and has been a pleasure to work with and to know.
"(Signed by) ..., General Manager, Direct Mail."
To end this section with that leading Museum let me quote quickly a few lines from a letter - also on that Museum letterhead -that the Marketing Director sent me on August 11, 1986, a couple of years before I retired from business, and before our Hong Kong and China trip. She also addressed me as "Dear Robert," and she wrote:
"If all our vendors conducted their businesses as you do, our retailing business would have few problems. We have found great integrity, excellent prices, and superb service to be part of every transaction."
As I said and repeated in some of my writings, I am not at all conceited, but I just want to show to my readers that one, I am a man of total integrity: and two, I get along fine with everybody I do business with; and it goes without saying that to vindicate the M.A.C. is one of the priorities of all Mansoors, and in particular of this writer. I did state somewhere that we'll fight to the bitter end, not fight Egyptologists or museologists, but the few among them I believe to be intellectually dishonest. I'll be fighting also to the bitter end the few institutions I believe are intellectually dishonest. If and when I see some true and good words about the Mansoors and the Collection coming out of the Museums and in particular of the two I am exposing, then I'll stop fighting and will cooperate with any institution to reinstate the truth, giving justice to all concerned.
Needless to add that I have many more letters from other MSA Members attesting my integrity, and more evidence to convince any intelligent individual that this matter should be re-evaluated since it's a matter of principles that concerns the Public at large, and definitely not - as wrongly said by the AAM - that it's a private dispute. To be sure, it is a public matter. Plain common sense: if the public has written about it, still writes about it, and ask questions about it, and wants it "settled," what does it mean? Doesn't it mean that the public is interested in it? I hope that I've made myself clear, and that the concerned will give signs in the immediate future to reconcile the matter which is taking enormous proportions.
Should Congress Impose Sanctions on Educational lnstitutions and on Educators who 'Counterfeit" the Truth Deliberately?
I am kindly asking the reader to answer that question. What should I really do if the few concerned institutions do not find a way to reconcile the matter? Shouldn't I - together with some concerned citizens - appeal for a Congressional Hearing as I doubt not that our lawmakers could, and probably would be interested to straighten out any of our institutions, and/or educators and highly-placed officials who mislead and/or betray the public by not telling the truth. They do want our country to be "safe." They do have in mind those famous words by a great American, Abraham Lincoln, who said:
"Let the people know the truth and the country will be safe."
I have also to add that I do not feel happy, and I believe most people don't either if any of our tax money goes to institutions that disdain, betray, or do not tell the truth to the public. Once in a while, we read in the news that some people show their outrage to the way some of their tax money is spent. For instance, I read in the Los Angeles Daily News of September 6, 1997 the following: "It's time to lower curtain on subsidies for the arts." Readers were asked to comment on whether congress should continue to fund the National Endowment for the Arts. One reader wrote: "Of all the giveaway programs that have come down the pike, there is none that equals the disgraceful use of taxpayers' money more than the National Endowment of the Arts... . what irks me the most is that decent, hard-working folks are forced to finance..." Is the NEA funding any project of any museum that disdains the public?
Clearly, some museums short change the public, but when those institutions will show their hands out, the public will remember how they are misled and treated with disdain. It is a sin for museum donors, patrons, "friends of the museums," corporations and foundations to donate for tax deduction to any intellectually dishonest or corrupt institution. In almost every city in the USA , there are many homeless people, children and senior citizens that need badly food and clothing to survive, and these need assistance. They deserve some attention more than any museum. There are also many charitable nonprofit organizations and many deserve our attention before museums. Donors should also consider donating for medical research which is vital to our own existence, and these need constantly help to keep their research going on.
Indeed, at times we read in newspapers that there's some corruption in a museum. Like in the Los Angeles Times of June 2, 1982 there was a long article with the following large and bold title: "Museum Officials Falsified Records on Gifts, IRS Says."
Now I have a quote that I think is funny. This was in the Los Angeles Daily News of October 30, 2002 in an article by Mr. Edward Goldman, also with the following very large and bold characters: "Museum officials trying to mislead voters - Actual goal for Measure A money: new building, not repairs for safety."
And Mr. Edward Goldman wrote:
"When Russians feel that someone is trying to sell them baloney, they say 'Don't hang noodles over my ears.' Here in America we say: 'Don't pull wool over my eyes.'
"The recent announcement that the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is seeking public money to rebuild its facilities makes me feel that museum officials are not only hanging noodles over our ears, but are also pulling wool over our eyes."
If I cited the above examples as irregularities in the museum world, I am just drawing the readers' attention that museums are establishments that could also deceive and take advantage of the public. They do make errors, but at times, to save their own fame and gain, they are reluctant to admit theirs.
But it's time to end this paper, and before I do, I'd like to quote a most eminent scholar in Laws, Prof .... (Stanford Law School and Northwestern School of Law, Lewis & Clark College), and to whom all Mansoors are forever profoundly indebted. After reading "Je Cherche ...," he wrote to the President of the AAM on January 19, 1972 about the M.A.C. and the Mansoors, and I'll only quote the last two paragraphs of his letter. He said:
'Sir, I am distressed to find the scientific community lagging so far behind the law in its view of fundamental fairness. If in fact the Tel-EI-Armana sculptures are forgeries, it would be in the best interests of all concerned to once and for all establish that fact beyond any reasonable doubt. If on the other hand they are authentic, then Egyptology, Art and the Public at large are being deprived of a wealth of knowledge and priceless treasures.
'I urge you to take steps to cause those responsible for the cavalier treatment accorded the Mansoor collection to reevaluate their relentless position. If they are correct in their original estimation, they will put the Ghost to rest once and for all. If they were in error, then they - like Mr. Justice Stewart in his concurring opinion In Boy's Market Inc. v. Retail Clerks Union 398 U.S. 235(1970) at 245-should manfully own up to it. In short. I urge you to afford the Mansoors the due process which is part of our American heritage, for as Mr. Justice Frankfurter so aptly put it:
"Wisdom too often never comes, and so one ought not to reject it merely because it comes late" (Henslee v. Union Planters Bank 335 U.S. 595 at 600)."
In closing, I suggest to museums that are misleading or taking advantage of the public that it's better to tell the truth than to obfuscate, and certainly better than to lie as, "falsus In uno, falsus in omnibus." If per chance I have made errors, I'd like to know about them so I correct myself publicly, and offer apologies. If I have inadvertently disrespected any one, I offer my sincere apologies at this time until I do it officially after I know about it. The reader should always keep in mind that I am not at all generalizing when I speak and show disrespect to a few Egyptologists or museologists. I hold that the greatest majority of Egyptologists and museologists are knowledgeable and decent people, but the very few who malign - whom I obviously consider intellectually dishonest - are bringing to their colleagues, as well as to Egyptology and museology, shame and disgrace.
Readers should know that all throughout my writings, I have given my personal opinion based mostly on the evidence possessed - on Egyptological and scientific facts. I quoted brilliant and reputed scientists who examined some Mansoor Amarnas "in the flesh," and the convincing scientific evidence they discovered speaks loudly for itself, that these sculptures can only be "ANCIENT." What's more, I quoted some leading Egyptologists who also examined "in the flesh" too many of the Mansoor sculptures and stated they are genuine. And I cited facts that are indisputable and undeniable that only fools would try to contradict, viz: 1) That the BMFA report is defective and definitely considered a blunder since many scientists criticized it in harsh terms. 2) That the malignant and wicked rumors circulating that the "fine Mansoor Family" brought a 'lawsuit" against the BMFA is not only unethical and indecent from those who utter it, but flagrantly immoral. It is not just right for some highly-placed officials to take advantage of small people as, by doing so, people think of them as villains.
I also quoted a very few Egyptologists - some so-called stylists - and their illogical and untrue statements, their nonsense and the errors they cling to, who gave their incongruous opinions not only without seeing one single object of the M.A.C., but while totally ignoring scientific evidence. While I prefer not to open cans of worms, I feel that I have to write more and inform the world through the Internet about the few Egyptologists who held a kangaroo court in Munich, Hamburg, and Brussels and judged the M.A.C. from four photographs of some Mansoor Amarnas. These, as well as a few others who think they are gods in Egyptology, have misled the world about Egyptian and Amarna Art in particular. I feel that a few are playing prima donnas, while others are trying to establish themselves as stylists of the first rank - belittling the Mansoor Amarna Collection.
Kind Readers, the BMFA opened in 1949 - perhaps erroneously - a Pandora's box which is still open and hard to close. Please, s'il vous plait, bitte, men-fadlokom, do not allow evil coming out of it to plague arts and sciences, as well as Egyptology and museology. To be sure, we need museums as not only they greatly contribute to our education, but they are also entertaining and add to our enjoyment. But we do not need any that mislead or do not tell us the truth, and keep silent when we need them most. I have to end but you can bet that I'll follow the advice of that great American, Thomas Jefferson, who said:
"ln matters of style, swim with the current;
To the Readers who volunteered to read this paper, my warm and sincere thanks, and any comments would be deeply appreciated. I am only exposing some wrongdoing by just a few who have misled so many, and humbly requesting a scholarly reevaluation of the matter. And I certainly would be greatly indebted to those who would forward this paper to as many people as possible as well as to Egyptologists and museologists, in particular that a scholar wrote to me: "The public should know!" Not only for the sake of the Mansoors or the M.A.C., but also and mostly for the sake of the Public at large and, above all, for the sake of Justice, Truth, our American Cultural/Educational Institutions, and America. The readers, the Public, and especially our Congress, should not allow this controversy - which seems to me to have really degenerated into a mockery - to become a national shame and disgrace.
Edmond Robert Mansoor
N.B. "IN DEFENCE OF THE MANSOOR-AMARNA COLLECTION," "Je Cherche Un Homme," as well as its "Sequel" are now inserted in my site: amarnamansoor.com. The reader who wants to get a clearer idea of the matter should read them, not because they are not that long, but because they contain much valuable information including overwhelming scientific evidence hard to ignore. Suggested to also read in the site, "Common Sense to Ponder."
CC of this EXPOSE' to:
Dr. Edward H. Able, Jr., (email@example.com)
Dr. Malcolm Rogers, (MRogers@mfa.org)
Dr. Arnold L. Lehman, (alehman @interport.net)
Dr. Richard A. Fazzini (firstname.lastname@example.org)