Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Death and destruction--of history

Robert Fisk in Tuesday's Independent:

"US officers have repeatedly said a large American base built at Babylon was to protect the site but Iraqi archaeologist Zainab Bah-rani, a professor of art history and archaeology at Columbia University, says this "beggars belief". In an analysis of the city, she says: 'The damage done to Babylon is both extensive and irreparable, and even if US forces had wanted to protect it, placing guards round the site would have been far more sensible than bulldozing it and setting up the largest coalition military headquarters in the region.'

Air strikes in 2003 left historical monuments undamaged, but Professor Bahrani, says: 'The occupation has resulted in a tremendous destruction of history well beyond the museums and libraries looted and destroyed at the fall of Baghdad. At least seven historical sites have been used in this way by US and coalition forces since April 2003, one of them being the historical heart of Samarra, where the Askari shrine built by Nasr al Din Shah was bombed in 2006.'"

This is an underreported consequence of the Iraq conflict: the damage done by a protracted war and occupation to the historical "infrastructure," for lack of a better term, of what most historians call the cradle of civilization, Mesopotamia. If you have the stomach for it, you can access the entire article here.

Read it and weep.


Blogger TomCat said...

Bucky, isn't History always the enemy of those who refuse to learn from it?

5:24 PM  
Blogger moville said...

very astute question. I don't suppose any of that destruction might be purposeful, do you?

7:51 PM  

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