To me a museum is like a shrine where our heritage and history is being safeguarded and I feel it at a personal loss when this building and/or its contents are threatened and damaged.
Lately I came across this article that appeared on the internet site of Asharq Al-Awsat, a highly inspiring exposé which I like to share here:
“Revealed Iraqi archaeological researcher and new information concerning the theft of the
which he described as 'crime of the century'. On the occasion of the tenth
anniversary, after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, on what he suffered the
museum during the chaos, she said that documentary evidence reveal deliberately
neglecting the occupying powers to the looting and destruction of the Iraq
Museum, and fatal errors accompanied the vaccinated from thefts, as there are
points of organization was behind the stolen, and that the Iraqi investigative
committee charged detects theft since 2004 have yet to disclose the results of
the investigation for unknown reasons. Iraqi Museum
“Revealed Iraqi archaeological researcher and new information concerning the theft of the
Dr. Lamia Kilani specializing in cylinder seals of the Covenant Old Babylonian, and archive documents relating to the museum Iraqi since its inception, and the first Iraqi woman involved in archaeological excavations in 1962 confirmed in her «Middle East» that «tragedy of the Iraqi Museum began before 2003; because theft got first it in 1991 after the Gulf War, and was nine out of 13 museums museum in the whole of Iraq to steal, including museums Assyria and Wasit, Ekrkov and Babylon, looting organization.
She pointed out that attempts modest carried out by the Department of Museum Iraqi Department of Antiquities and Heritage for protection, moved to urban area (western Iraq), while stored manuscripts in the province of Kirkuk, the clay tablets with language cuneiform, was stored in Dohuk, but Museum Kirkuk was looted completely , and threw its contents on the road, and was only part of the manuscripts to the Iraq Museum in Baghdad, and was the other part of the loss.
Clay tablets found difficulty in the basement of the Iraqi Museum, which turned into the headquarters of the military command in 1991. And archaeological expert, Donny George is found first, and remember that the effects transported back to the urban area being developed effects stolen Kuwaiti Bdelha! And founded the Iraqi Museum in
And on the theft of antiquities during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 says Kilani: «got a breach of the most important conditions for the protection of international museums, the first: the importance that the State protects invasive effects of the occupying power, in addition to the need to not use the occupying state archaeological sites to protect themselves, and what happened to the U.S. government The creation of a number of committees to prepare for after the occupation of Iraq, including aspects of education, health, agriculture and industry, but forgot to include the Committee of the effects! And dealt with the matter that is quite important to the occupation of a country like
It showed Kilani that «the first blow suffered museum was faced First, blow gun hand gate Assyrian documented pictures, but disappeared now that were carried out rehabilitation museum, and I wish to remain a living witness to target museums by the invading forces, and that was On 7 and 8 April 2003, and on 9 and 10 of the same month Museum robbed.
And was amazed Kilani not expect workers in the Ministries of Tourism and Antiquities, foreign or Iraqi defense, stealing the museum, and thus a hedge, as stated in the preliminary investigation of the incident theft of the museum, and that all of the museum include the fear of being bombed.
She explained that «Initial investigations revealed that the hedges security of the Iraq Museum were not enough, it was funny, too, and there are big mistakes and negligence in the matter of immunization is open from theft, since it is not dealt with doors fortified as in most museums of the world under the pretext of the lack of adequate budget , and also did not close a section of the doors function in the museum grounds linked system of electricity that feeds the museum, and one of the doors leading from the museum's Hall of the Islamic Museum was disabled, as well as doors store old, while she was there to protect the effects displayed only, and neglected effects found in stores » .
Revealed Kilani secrets room mission in Iraq Museum were stolen, carrying number 104, which was originally temporary room in the museum, management sometimes storing effects temporarily pending allocated halls suitable or deposited maintenance or insert information about them, have forgotten concerned at the museum closed before War and stayed open, and he was «Guitar Orr» and «Warka Girl», two of the most important effects of the museum. Also remained puzzle keys doors Museum vague so far; because investigations revealed steal some models keys; because some halls and cabinets and found open after stealing where without breaking it, means that Sariqha holds the keys of origin, and there keys were found after theft and were lying on the land, and other keys lost of thermoplastic owners themselves, according to their testimony.
And the proceeds of thefts effects said Kilani: «outcome proved displays 42 impact of the theft from the museum, except thousands of stores, and has been restored 15 thousand impact only, including a statue (Antmina) who was broken after having been smuggled to Syria, as well as (the Lion of Babylon) who found the door of the temple in Diyala province; because the thieves could not move and they cut off his head, as well as the case with (guitar Orr) that stole her arms Almusnoatan of pure gold, as well as the head, and rehabilitated again.
The (Warka Girl), which was in room No. 104 was later found buried under a palm tree in a remote area. As stolen all the pieces of ivory in the museum, a cut is unprecedented in the whole world, and stole also 5000 seal cylindrical no longer them but less than a thousand seal, thanks to the return of 800 seal of the Director of the Italian Cultural Institute Paulo Ptinwa which he bought from a vendor in popular market near the museum. She survived 10 thousand specie in the museum of the theft because the thieves missed keys to safes, as evidenced by the investigations; because the keys found under the ruins of some of the effects of near coins. Strange that more pieces returned returned after a short period of war, while lagged recovery operations later.
And Izzat al-Kilani reasons steal the museum, according to the book of expert effects French and named Pkdanos, said that thefts museum got because of an organized criminal network was found near the scene before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and the proof is that antique dealers were informed definitely they will receive before the stolen originally. There is another type of indiscriminate thieves who did not distinguish between the important pieces from other desks and computers in the museum. Can not ignore the contribution of former regime officials antiquities smuggling operations, and sell them abroad.
During his intervention during the seminar, said the senior adviser to the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities Iraqi Bahaa Mayah to the latest statistics on the subject of recovery effects of the Iraq Museum was on December 13 (December) past; since recovered 4310 artifacts, and other pieces that do not belong to the museum, and this more b 30 times the rate of recovery in the Iraq Museum, and this means that there is an organized crime of theft, and was finally set 600 artifacts smuggled by Iranian smugglers.
He described Mayah steal the museum «crime of the century», which did not take the maturity of the investigation so far, stressing that Iraqi antiquities still suffers steal a large number of them in the absence control them, and what has been retrieved from the stolen antiquities is only less than a third of what amount of thefts.
The student Mayah the importance of exchanging information internationally about the details of effects contraband, and how it gets to destinations thief to see extensions organized gangs in Iraq and thus arrested, in addition to the application of the Treaty of UNESCO on as the transfer of property antique to a foreign country is illegal, as well as respect for the cultural heritage of the country signatory to the Convention, and to take all measures to ban the import of cultural property in the territory.
Mayah focused on the problem of recover internationally effects, and because of that some developed countries (including the EU) is not cooperating, as described.
And on the importance of lawyers to take lawsuits to seek restitution of Iraqi antiquities and circulation and trade embargo, Mayah said: «strive for that, but it costs a lot of money, but it is the most appropriate solution for us instead of foreign lawyers.
And about the reasons for not opening the
Turn expressed Culture Minister Iraqi former useful Algerian Prime Iraqi Association for Support of Culture, was surprised to hide the results of the investigation on the subject of theft the museum, which was formed in 2004, which lasted for many months, and reached conclusions and extracts important in the investigation in cooperation with foreign bodies.
He said: «The ten years to close the museum for a long time, It's funny that we do not have the funds to re-qualify each halls or even judge security control.
It is noteworthy that Dr. Lamia Kilani was born in Baghdad, holds a bachelor's, master's and doctorate from the University of Cambridge and Edinburgh and London, began its work in effects in the early sixties of the last century, the first Iraqi woman involved in archaeological excavations in 1962, and published a lot of articles and research in journals many , also contributed to writing a book on cylinder seals in Tel sound near a dam Hamrin, and wrote a book titled «first Arab» in conjunction with Salem Alusi, has left Iraq in 1970, and worked adviser in the Ministry of Culture after the fall of the regime in 2003, and consultant in the British Museum in
This is the link where I found this article.