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Re: [casi] Cultural Rape and Smashing Pumpkins

Yale Daily News, April 15

The violent obliteration of art and memory

This past week, as Saddam Hussein's 24 years of rule over Iraq came to an
apparent end, 7,000 years of human history vaporized along with them. The
citizens of Baghdad, armed with clubs, guns and sticks, stormed the National
Museum of Iraq and smashed or stole 170,000 artifacts, some dating back
virtually to the Garden of Eden.

In perhaps the worst instance of cultural destruction ever seen in the
Middle East, two days of pillaging ended with the disappearance of some of
humanity's very first works of art: precious gold filaments and jewelry from
Sumeria; ceramics from the time of the Hanging Gardens of Nebuchadnezzar;
harps, cuneiform tablets, sculptured heads, tapestries and friezes; even,
ironically enough, the ancient tablets of the Code of Hammurabi, one of the
first works of law known to civilization.

Curators stood by weeping as American soldiers, flouting the 1954 Hague
conventions, stood by and blithely witnessed the catastrophe. ....

more ....


----- Original Message -----
From: "Dr E.C.D. Hunter" <>
To: "Dirk Adriaensens" <>
Cc: <>
Sent: Monday, April 14, 2003 9:18 PM
Subject: Re: [casi] Cultural Rape and Smashing Pumpkins

> In response to your comments re the looting of antiquities at the Iraq
> Museum and destruction of manuscripts at the Saddam Library.>
> Re 1. I think that the U.S. failure to guard the Museum and Library is
> culpable.  It is sheer negligence at best but suggests no.2
> I was approached already in 1992/1993 by a well-known collector of
> antiquities  in London (who subsequently was required to return some
> panels from Nineveh to the Iraqi government) who asked me whether i would
> 'clean out the basement of the Iraq Museum for him'.  Needless to say, I
> did not take up his (highly lucrative) offer.
> I think that looting plans would have been made from without Iraq, long
> before the bombing began.  In the opinion of Scotland Yard, with whom I
> subsequently investigated some illegal antiquities which  a Jordanian
> woman attempted to send to Britain (1994/1995), the business of illegal
> antiquities is linked to Mafia activities and also often to drug cartels.
> There must be contacts within the country who would simply wait until the
> time was right.  Maybe they have waited for years ... to seize this most
> lucrative opportunity.  With the break-down of law and order and no border
> controls, truck-loads of material would be taken away.
> I do not think that the main thrust of the looting  of antiquities has
> been by ordinary individuals.  After all, unlike sofas and chandeliers,
> these are not practical household items. The sales market would also be
> very restricted - unless they are counting on soldiers buying souvenirs.
> Should this happen, I believe that the CO's or whoever should confiscate
> such items.  But then U.S. could not be bothered to protect the
> Museum/Library in the first place ...
> Hoping that this might shed some light onto this tragic situation.
> Erica C.D. Hunter
> > There are two possibilities,maybe another I havent thought of. This is
what I think happened.
> >        1. It was a major screw-up by our military ,which is a distinct
possibility.If it  was, it was the first since the Civil War.
> >        The way an art thief would plan is as follows.
> >
> >        2. Someone made a deal with those that plan the war. Paul
Wolfowitz , Richard Perle and Donald Rumsfeld  are the planners, The first
two are both
> > Jews who have close contacts in Israel.
> >
> >        3. Very wealthy Israeli/Arab collectors formed a syndicate and
paid Wolfowitz and/or Perle to ignore a precedent of military history which
was to
> > protect the cultural artifacts of Bagdad. This was the finest collection
of Mesopotanian artefacts in the world.
> >
> >        4. I think that much of the stuff went out in trucks . After the
rare and prized pieces were removed, a previously hired Iraqi (thug) working
> > conjunction for the synidicate lead a groups of looters much as a
college kid leads a panty raid.
> >
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Affiliated Lecturer in Aramaic   Visiting Lecturer in Eastern Christianity
> Faculty of Oriental Studies      Dept. of the Study of Religions
> University of Cambridge          School of Oriental and African Studies
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Copyright 2002 Dr. Erica C.D. Hunter
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
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