Tuesday, 12 June 2012

US-Iraqi Archaeological Co-operation Suspended?

According to the Kurdistan News Agency ('Iraq Independent News'), the crisis between the US invader and Iraq is deepening. It reports that the Iraqi Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has stopped dealing with US archaeological teams because the US administration has failed to fulfil its promises to return Iraqi antiquities that were transported to the US by the US forces in 2003. The Jewish documents taken by the Americans from Iraqi archives are not the only historic remains that the Iraqi authorities are asking the USA to return.
 “it is only part of a bigger issue. The US have announced that they have more than 10,000 Iraqi artifacts that were moved out of Iraq after 2003. So far, only 3,500 items have been returned to Iraq in return for a continued relation with [us], which we have rejected. We told them that either they return all the artifacts or there will be no relations between us”
And while you are at it, can Washington see its way to returning the Auschwitz barrack loan too?

UPDATE 13.06.12 Over in US collectorworld it is being urged that the US should retaliate:
"And it's certainly time to cut any further funding of Iraqi archaeology or the repatriation of any "Iraqi looking" cultural goods [that...]  left that country after an international embargo was placed on the import of any Iraqi products". 
Let us recall why the American invader has recently been providing finance for the reconstruction of Iraqi museums. Obviously the neo-colonialists among them think if they give the Native Oriental Gentlemen over there enough beads and blankets it gives them the 'right' to help themselves to any misappropriated cultural property which they fancy.

The Iraqis have EVERY right to ask the Americans to honour their commitment to return this cultural property in good time.


Cultural Property Observer said...

Why take this out on US archaeologists, who have been tireless promoters of the Iraqi archaeological establishment (both during the Saddam period and afterwards)? Is this the kind of thanks they should get?

Sounds like the Iraqis are taking a page out of the Turkish book on dealing with Germans.

Of course, this is the natural end of the cultural nationalism the US archaeological establishment has done so much to foster.

Paul Barford said...

No, it's the consequence for walking off with other people's stuff.

So you think that if the Americans deign to be nice to some Inferior Oriental Gentlemen, the later should smile as they let you walk off with their stuff? That's pure colonialism. Give it back.

(As far as I know, American archaeologists did not march against the invasion. British archaeologists did).

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