August 19, 2008

Iraq sites not really looted?

I just noticed this month-old article from the Wall Street Journal: So much for the ‘looted sites’. It says that many sites of purported looting of antiquities in Southern Iraq were actually not looted, although they are in danger. I can’t claim to know what’s really going on here; this issue has a lot of layers to it that I haven’t peeled back. I have covered it here. (Iraq’s archives are another issue.)

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  1. I would only say that the WSJ stating that archeologists traveling to Iraq might have a “political agenda” is a hugely risible statement if it is not meant ironically….The NYRB is not worth reading either on this level.
    I have watched (here in Beirut) heartbreaking video footage of archivists and museum workers in Iraq in tears recounting what has happened there. I’m willing to bet this kind of news footage does not reach American televisions.
    The greater point is not a comparative one; meaning, the statement that looting was greater during Saddam Hussein’s reign by Iraqis as opposed to that which resulted due to the current occupation carries with it certain insinuations that are obnoxious at best, and they divorce action from context.
    That years and years of deadly sanctions might force a people to trade in their own history to a West that has done nothing but pillage the Third World should not be surprising.
    The destruction of history is a key element of the ongoing capitalistic onslaught. Whether by bombs or real estate developers (I’m living in a city that is being razed by both) the goal is the same, all protests to the contrary….

    Comment by Daniel — August 23, 2008 @ 8:32 am

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