Tuesday 7 April 2015

A sledgehammer to civilisation

Martin Chulov
“We have lost about 10% of our heritage so far,” says Qais Hussein Rashid, the director of Iraq’s state board of antiquity and heritage, although Iraqi media and other officials suggest the real figure may be far higher. “Isis has destroyed many statues and sold the rest. The museum [in Mosul] was considered number one in Iraq. The local government had spent so much money to open the museum till the day before Mosul fell. They got everything ready and they they lost it all to Isis.” Getting Mosul museum ready to showcase the treasures that had emerged throughout the ages from Mesopotamia had been seen as a seminal moment in Iraq’s recovery from its last invasion – the US-led war to oust Saddam Hussein. That campaign had led to a pillage of antiquities across the country. The Baghdad museum was almost emptied out by Iraqi civilians and US soldiers as the capital fell and, more than a decade later, efforts to recover the artefacts have been only moderately successful.
A sledgehammer to civilisation: Islamic State’s war on culture Guardian Tuesday 7 April 2015

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