Saturday, October 9, 2010

The U.S. Army should have anticipated the danger presented to the cultural sites. Indeed, as cited above, they were warned. Further, once looting started, they should have acted promptly to protect the museum from further damage and theft. But, as we discovered, and as the looting continued for three days, the American Army did not even move any units to protect the museum until it was too late. Former French President Jacques Chirac declared the incident “a crime against humanity” (National Museum of Iraq, 2010). The looting of the Iraqi National Museum is more than a crime of theft; as I see it, it is an act of genocide.
Two specific conflicts arise from this
A) Conflict between the American Government and the Iraqi Government and people. Before this conflict can be resolved, it is important that the facts are ascertained and both sides acknowledge them. Are the Americans responsible? Do the above mentioned protocols apply here, and to what extent?
I believe they do, and, I think the matter is best resolved through mitigation and acknowledgment as I proposed in this project.

B) Conflict between Iraqis. The war pulled Iraq apart along sectarian and ethnic lines. If mitigation is obtained and the national museum rebuilt, how will it be rebuilt so as to resolve the conflict between the Iraqis themselves, presenting a history which respects all Iraqis?
Here, the American experience might be used, with the building of the National Museum of the American Indian under the national umbrella of the Smithsonian, or the unresolved controversy surrounding the building of a national museum for slavery in Washington.
According to the UNESCO Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, 1972, cultural heritage of any state is recognized as world heritage, and member states should “give their help in the identification, protection, conservation and presentation of the cultural and natural heritage… if the States on whose territory it is situated so request.” (Section II, Article 6). Constructing a common national history is central to national unity, and Iraq needs one more than ever.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The United States observes the Hague Convention of May 14, 1954. According to the section titles, “Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict,” it clearly states that the occupying force must preserve cultural property in the territory they occupy. The 1954 protocol requires States Parties occupying territory during armed conflict to prevent the exportation of cultural property from that territory. (P1, Art.1)
Furthermore, the amended 1999 Protocol on the same subject, which the United States is a party to as well, provides enhanced protection of cultural property under the criteria in which to be granted “enhanced protection” (P2, Art.10). This article states: (a) It is cultural heritage of the greatest importance to humanity. (b) It is protected by domestic measures that recognize its cultural and historical value and ensure the highest level of protection. (c) It is not used for military purposes or to shield military sites, and the party which has control over the property has formally declared that it will not be so used.
Article (5) of the Hague Convention states that in the case of occupation, “(a) Any High Contracting Party in occupation of the whole or part of the territory of another High Contracting Party shall as far as possible support the competent national authorities of the occupied country in safeguarding and preserving its cultural property. (b) Should it prove necessary to take measures to preserve cultural property situated in occupied territory and damaged by military operations, and should the competent national authorities be unable to take such measures, the Occupying Power shall, as far as possible, and in close co-operation with such authorities, take the most necessary measures of preservation.”
Given the above articles of both conventions and that the United States signed and adheres to it, it is clear that the U.S. Army failed to protect Iraq’s national treasure.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Blogger Buzz: Blogger integrates with Amazon Associates

Blogger Buzz: Blogger integrates with Amazon Associates
The Iraqi National Museum represents unity among the different factions of Iraq. The museum is of utmost importance to the people of Iraq, no matter what their affiliations might be; the Iraqi people hold dear to their hearts their past and their heritage.
The museum’s collection of antiquities predates any collection known in human history and tells the story of human progress, which dates from the writing of the first code of laws in Hammurabi’s time up until the dawn of civilization. This collection is now largely lost.
The collection is the pride and joy of the Iraqi people, so the loss of the artifacts that dates back thousands of years has devastated the Iraqi community and shocked the world. As the Oriental Institute website puts it: “In the days following the conquest of Baghdad by U.S troops in April 2003, the Iraq museum was looted; many pieces were stolen, others damaged or destroyed. Irrespective of numbers, these losses are tremendous not only to the world of archaeology but to mankind in general.” (Iraq Museum Database, Oriental Institute, 2003)
In her article Raiders of the Lost Art, Meghan O’Rourke (2003) wrote, “Archaeologists in the United States consider the National Museum of Antiquities … to be among the 10 most important museums in the world.” (p. 2). She also explains that American archaeologists informed the Pentagon of the importance of the museum and requested it be protected from bombings. Further proof of the significance of the looting is evidenced by the April 17, 2003 resignation of the chairman of the President’s Advisory Committee on Cultural Property who cited the preventable destruction of Iraq’s National Museum in his resignation letter. (O’Rourke, 2003)

Monday, June 28, 2010