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Old 04-16-2003, 01:39 AM   #1
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cultural amnesia

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/...p?story=397629

http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0415-07.htm

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So yesterday was the burning of books. First came the looters, then the arsonists. It was the final chapter in the sacking of Baghdad. The National Library and Archives a priceless treasure of Ottoman historical documents, including the old royal archives of Iraq were turned to ashes in 3,000 degrees of heat. Then the library of Korans at the Ministry of Religious Endowment was set ablaze.

I saw the looters. One of them cursed me when I tried to reclaim a book of Islamic law from a boy of no more than 10. Amid the ashes of Iraqi history, I found a file blowing in the wind outside: pages of handwritten letters between the court of Sharif Hussein of Mecca, who started the Arab revolt against the Turks for Lawrence of Arabia, and the Ottoman rulers of Baghdad.

And the Americans did nothing. All over the filthy yard they blew, letters of recommendation to the courts of Arabia, demands for ammunition for troops, reports on the theft of camels and attacks on pilgrims, all in delicate hand-written Arabic script. I was holding in my hands the last Baghdad vestiges of Iraq's written history. But for Iraq, this is Year Zero; with the destruction of the antiquities in the Museum of Archaeology on Saturday and the burning of the National Archives and then the Koranic library, the cultural identity of Iraq is being erased. Why? Who set these fires? For what insane purpose is this heritage being destroyed?

...

foray
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Old 04-16-2003, 02:02 AM   #2
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Sounds like Crusaders to me.
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Old 04-16-2003, 02:29 AM   #3
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bad bad bad.

shameful that nothing was done. don't really know if it was malice or not. either way it's a crime against history.
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Old 04-16-2003, 03:54 AM   #4
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And US military is allready been transported home - you could think that they have no need for soldiers to get in control of that situation

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Old 04-16-2003, 03:59 AM   #5
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all the respondents of this thread must of
flunked out
of a 3rd rate
drama class....

get over yourselves..

db9

ps-
now tell me in your most sappy way how im such a "misguied and an uninspispired" person..

pss-
save your money
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Old 04-16-2003, 07:51 AM   #6
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I didn't understand a word diamond said

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Old 04-16-2003, 08:02 AM   #7
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yes diamond I'd like to know what you mean by that...
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Old 04-16-2003, 09:34 AM   #8
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Screw sappy diamond, you know better than to insult people, you're a grown man, and I bet my bottom dollar you don't speak to people off the net in this kind of way.
Perhaps you responded as you did, because you don't see/care for the significance of all that has been forever lost?
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Old 04-16-2003, 09:53 AM   #9
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The reason the military didn't respond at first was to avoid being seen as "conquerors" rather than liberators. There are now acting in cooperation with the Iraqi police. But just imagine if they had started doing something right after taking the cities, on their own, before the police had shown up for work. Gee whiz, some of the same people who are whining about the fact that they didn't do anything would be saying "Oh my gosh...look at those bullies. See, I told you it wasn't about liberation".
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Old 04-16-2003, 10:10 AM   #10
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Firstly, I dont think anyone would view the military taking whatever action necessary to stop looting and destruction of such priceless historical items as bullying or the like. But as it didn't happen, its neither here nor there.
And secondly, this isn't necessarily about the lack of reaction on the military's behalf. The sheer magnitude of what has been lost is something to take more than pause for.
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Old 04-16-2003, 12:05 PM   #11
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You're right, Angela. I don't think some people quite understand what has been lost. I'm a historian, and a cultural one at that (rather than a political one), so I know. We've lost the oldest legal code on Planet Earth, the text of the first myth, the Mesopotamian story of "Gilgamesh", both lost from the antiquities museum. Now we've lost precious documentation of the Ottoman Turks, and other neighboring cultures as well as Mesopotamian/ Sumerian things. This is so disastrous to our cultural history that it just overwhelms me. I'm angered and upset beyond belief. You don't any more leave this stuff to chance than you do a bank. You protect it and safeguard it against any sort of risk. I wonder if the Mona Lisa had been ripped off from Paris--OK, that's France but the artist was Italian--people would be screaming bloody murder. Well the magnitude of the disaster in Baghdad makes the rip off of the Mona Lisa look like a Victorian Sunday School class. I'm very upset and angered over the loss.
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Old 04-16-2003, 12:31 PM   #12
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People are so stupid. Ignorance will destroy the modern world, just as ignorance destroyed the Roman Empire and plunged the world into 1000 years of relative ignorance.

It's all a matter of time.

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Old 04-16-2003, 01:25 PM   #13
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Actually alot of things doomed the Roman Empire. The economy was a mess; inflation was something like 300%, unemployment in Rome was at least 20% and the huge military apparatus was a huge drain on the Treasury. But they didn't have much of a choice due to the hostile German tribes on the northern frontier of the Empire. In the second century AD these even penetrated and sacked northern Italy. They later sacked Rome itself. As ancient cultures went the educational system wasn't bad, although they were rather hostile to the arts. They were partial to literary pursuits. But the majority of the people were illiterate. Education was quite exclusive by our standards. It was all private. Western Europe was indeed plunged into ignorance when Italy fell apart during the fourth and fifth centuries of our era. The cities were screwed, so their schools were also. When a culture falls apart there's always more than one cause. But this reminds me of the Frankish (French) sacking of Constantinople in 1204. These were Crusaders, mostly ignorant people who didn't give a damn what they destroyed. To them, the Greeks were enemies because of political conflicts (rival Roman Emperors) and religious differences (Catholic vs. Eastern Orthodox Christianity) Greek classics and ancient artifacts were lost forever. It was horrific. We still have a first hand account of the atrocity written by a Greek scribe. Needless to say it sent already sour relationships between the Western part of Europe and Eastern Europe to hell in a haybasket. It was terrible for everyone involved. While U.S. troops were certainly not looting the museum or burning the library in Baghdad no one gave orders to safeguard these priceless objects. Now it's too late. The only hope is that the looters will be fool enough to try to sell the stuff to Christie's or Lloyds; the objects will be confiscated and sent back to Baghdad. Unfortunately, this is unlikely. I hope some decent people who will send the stuff back get it. I have my doubts.
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Old 04-16-2003, 07:28 PM   #14
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Good, great, wonderful, just saw the posts about the burning of the Korans at the Religion Ministry. Good Lord, how much of this madness does one city have to put up with? They might as well have stripped every mosque there. I'm glad that some scholars are going to Baghdad from the U.S, Australia, the U.K. and other countries. They will try to help salvage what they can from these messes. I wish I could go, dammit. I'm tentatively planning a trip to Turkey to check out Silk Road antiquities. I just hope no one thinks I've come to town to rip off their Korans or anything.
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Old 04-17-2003, 04:19 AM   #15
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This is not only sad because of Iraqs culture, it's the culture heritage of our history too. The only reason why they weren't protected from Unesco for centuries is because of politics.

Just try to imagine how much older some of these peaces are compared to the United States itself. ...gone forever.

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