Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
Sign in to follow this  
yoshy

iraqi museum looted

Recommended Posts

sorry if this has already been posted, but i think its important to read...

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/13/internat...ml?pagewanted=1

 

Pillagers Strip Iraqi Museum of Its Treasure

By JOHN F. BURNS

 

 

AGHDAD, Iraq, April 12 — The National Museum of Iraq recorded a history of civilizations that began to flourish in the fertile plains of Mesopotamia more than 7,000 years ago. But once American troops entered Baghdad in sufficient force to topple Saddam Hussein's government this week, it took only 48 hours for the museum to be destroyed, with at least 170,000 artifacts carried away by looters.

 

 

 

 

 

The full extent of the disaster that befell the museum came to light only today, as the frenzied looting that swept much of the capital over the previous three days began to ebb.

 

As fires in a dozen government ministries and agencies began to burn out, and as looters tired of pillaging in the 90-degree heat, museum officials reached the hotels where foreign journalists were staying along the eastern bank of the Tigris River. They brought word of what is likely to be reckoned as one of the greatest cultural disasters in recent Middle Eastern history.

 

A full accounting of what has been lost may take weeks or months. The museum had been closed during much of the 1990's, and as with many Iraqi institutions, its operations were cloaked in secrecy under Mr. Hussein.

 

So what officials told journalists today may have to be adjusted as a fuller picture comes to light. It remains unclear whether some of the museum's priceless gold, silver and copper antiquities, some of its ancient stone and ceramics and perhaps some of its fabled bronzes and gold-overlaid ivory, had been locked away for safekeeping elsewhere before the looting, or seized for private display in one of Mr. Hussein's myriad palaces.

 

What was beyond contest today was that the 28 galleries of the museum and vaults with huge steel doors guarding storage chambers that descend floor after floor into unlighted darkness had been completely ransacked.

 

Officials with crumpled spirits fought back tears and anger at American troops, as they ran down an inventory of the most storied items that they said had been carried away by the thousands of looters who poured into the museum after daybreak on Thursday and remained until dusk on Friday, with only one intervention by American forces, lasting about half an hour, at lunchtime on Thursday.

 

Nothing remained, museum officials said, at least nothing of real value, from a museum that had been regarded by archaeologists and other specialists as perhaps the richest of all such institutions in the Middle East.

 

As examples of what was gone, the officials cited a solid gold harp from the Sumerian era, which began about 3360 B.C. and started to crumble about 2000 B.C. Another item on their list of looted antiquities was a sculptured head of a woman from Uruk, one of the great Sumerian cities, dating from about the same era, and a collection of gold necklaces, bracelets and earrings, also from the Sumerian dynasties and also at least 4,000 years old.

 

But an item-by-item inventory of the most valued pieces carried away by the looters hardly seemed to capture the magnitude of what had occurred. More powerful, in its way, was the action of one museum official in hurrying away through the piles of smashed ceramics and torn books and burned-out torches of rags soaked in gasoline that littered the museum's corridors to find the glossy catalog of an exhibition of "Silk Road Civilizations" that was held in Japan's ancient capital of Nara in 1988.

 

Turning to 50 pages of items lent by the Iraqi museum for the exhibition, he said none of the antiquities pictured remained after the looting. They included ancient stone carvings of bulls and kings and princesses; copper shoes and cuneiform tablets; tapestry fragments and ivory figurines of goddesses and women and Nubian porters; friezes of soldiers and ancient seals and tablets on geometry; and ceramic jars and urns and bowls, all dating back at least 2,000 years, some more than 5,000 years.

 

"All gone, all gone," he said. "All gone in two days."

 

An Iraqi archaeologist who has taken part in the excavation of some of the country's 10,000 sites, Raid Abdul Ridhar Muhammad, said he went into the street in the Karkh district, a short distance from the eastern bank of the Tigris, about 1 p.m. on Thursday to find American troops to quell the looting. By that time, he and other museum officials said, the several acres of museum grounds were overrun by thousands of men, women and children, many of them armed with rifles, pistols, axes, knives and clubs, as well as pieces of metal torn from the suspensions of wrecked cars. The crowd was storming out of the complex carrying antiquities on hand carts, bicycles and wheelbarrows and in boxes. Looters stuffed their pockets with smaller items.

 

Mr. Muhammad said that he had found an American Abrams tank in Museum Square, about 300 yards away, and that five marines had followed him back into the museum and opened fire above the looters' heads. That drove several thousand of the marauders out of the museum complex in minutes, he said, but when the tank crewmen left about 30 minutes later, the looters returned.

 

 

 

"I asked them to bring their tank inside the museum grounds," he said. "But they refused and left. About half an hour later, the looters were back, and they threatened to kill me, or to tell the Americans that I am a spy for Saddam Hussein's intelligence, so that the Americans would kill me. So I was frightened, and I went home."

 

Mohsen Hassan, a 56-year-old deputy curator, returned to the museum on Saturday afternoon after visiting military commanders a mile away at the Palestine Hotel, with a request that American troops be placed in the museum to protect the building and items left by the looters in the vaults. Mr. Hassan said the American officers had given him no assurances that they would guard the museum around the clock, but other American commanders announced later in the day that joint patrols with unarmed Iraqi police units would begin as early as Sunday in an attempt to prevent further looting.

 

Mr. Hassan, who said he had spent 34 years helping to develop the museum's collection, described watching as men took sledgehammers to locked glass display cases and in some instances fired rifles and pistols to break the locks.

 

He said that many of the looters appeared to be from the impoverished districts of the city where anger at Mr. Hussein ran at its strongest, but that others were middle-class people who appeared to know exactly what they were looking for.

 

"Did some of them know the value of what they took?" he said. "Absolutely, they did. They knew what the most valued pieces in our collection were."

 

Mr. Muhammad spoke with deep bitterness toward the Americans, as have many Iraqis who have watched looting that began with attacks on government agencies and the palaces and villas of Mr. Hussein, his family and his inner circle broaden into a tidal wave of looting that struck just about every government institution, even ministries dealing with issues like higher education, trade and agriculture, and hospitals.

 

American troops have intervened only sporadically, as they did on Friday to halt a crowd of men and boys who were raiding an armory at the edge of the Republican Palace presidential compound and taking brand-new Kalashnikov rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons.

 

American commanders have said they lack the troops to curb the looting while their focus remains on the battles across Baghdad that are necessary to mop up pockets of resistance from paramilitary forces loyal to Mr. Hussein.

 

As reporters returned from the national museum to their hotels beside the Tigris tonight, marines guarding the hotels were caught in a heavy firefight with Iraqis across the river, and the neighborhoods erupted with tank and heavy machine-gun fire. Western television cameramen who went onto the embankment beside the Palestine Hotel to film the battle were pulled from danger by helmeted marines who dragged them down behind concrete parapets and waved to reporters on the hotel's upper balconies to get down.

 

Mr. Muhammad, the archaeologist, directed much of his anger at President Bush. "A country's identity, its value and civilization resides in its history," he said. "If a country's civilization is looted, as ours has been here, its history ends. Please tell this to President Bush. Please remind him that he promised to liberate the Iraqi people, but that this is not a liberation, this is a humiliation."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

get pissed at your citizens too dude.

it's too easy to get pissed at bush.

 

sucks though because all that shit is gonna end up in someones living room or sold on the black market.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

it is pretty heartbreaking____loss of life is terrible_but the looting and destruction of mankind's history and achievements too much for words...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

id walk through there with a bat.

 

bull in a china shop cuntlapper.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

/ bingo

 

 

abel come to poughkeepsie ny anytime champ.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

haha youre pointless.

 

yes i have 3000+ posts im close to 550000 actually.

 

wXc eh? where abouts? 769/773? could have family there...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by SteveAustin

it'll be on ebay in a week.

 

i heard a guy on npr who studies all of this stuff at an american university say that he wrote letters to every branch of the military and even to the whitehouse stressing like, 150 landmarks and museums that they need to keep an eye on or protect in iraq. the museum was #1 on the list, and he told them that they would have to put extra security at the place or it would get "straight up vicked" in the words of cracked ass.

 

of course, they didnt. the records got destroyed too so its going to be hard to even PROVE that some of this stuff existed. they had tablets with written documentation that started from like 200 BC and on that are now missing or destroyed. that means documentation of whole societies is now destroyed and will never be re-discovered again.

 

it is fucking tragic, but the worst thing is that this stuff WONT be on ebay because some of it is so valuable (or priceless) that it would be way too easily recognized to just sell on an open market. what he figured might happen to the stuff that wasnt destroyed is it being sold to private collectors (i.e. rich assholes) who will shove it in a vault and let it cool down for years and years until they can sell it for an even higher price.

 

if you guys clown on this shit you have no idea what youre talking about. this shit is one of the worst things to happen in this war short of the hundreds and thousands of casualties on both sides. whole socities have been destroyed in a half assed attempt at "saving" another one. and we cant even seem to get that right...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

to me, the problem isn't the war it's the morons who ran amuck and looted that shit. We should've protected it. but there shouldn't be thousands of people running around like moronic children waving guns and threatening violence. i hope alot of the stolen goods get recovered and returned or that other museums donate pieces from thier collection to a restored iraqi facility. to blame bush is misguided frustration. this bothers me very deeply. it's hard to blame the psyche of the mob mentality, it's also hard to say "oh, the people are just reacting to newfound freedom." each person who aided in the looting was acting in a manner not unlike a forceful dictator . i could envision americans doing the same thing. the american troops should've protected it. this is a real trajedy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree 100%. In all reality I'm kinda hoping that some of it actually appears on the open market. I'm guessing a lot of normal citizens aren't going to know how to unload something like a national treasure. Granted the rich assholes will most likely have buyers out looking for these items at ridiculously low prices. The Iragis will just be glad to get anything for whatever they looted regardless of whether or not they are selling their own heritage or national treasures.

 

it truly is a sad state of affairs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by mr_president

but destroying your own cities buildings,

 

 

 

so you dont paint?

 

 

 

oh.. yeah.. thats way different.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was watching the spanish channel and they had footage of the currator entering the museum for the first time since the looting and she was in shock. the whole place was gutted and there were smashed statues and other artifacts on the floor. She was real emotional and crying and I felt for her and the whole endeavor of anthropology. the looters even went into the storerooms and took the artifacts not on display. Her assistant even chased out a few straggling looters/curiosity seekers.

It's really sad. She did make the comment "Saddam is the last remnant of ancient Mesopotamian glory," though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

damn that's wack.

How many hannibal lechter private collectors could gobble this stuff up? Ultimately only a museum would want this stuff and I don't think any museum would be willing to take this stuff.

Besides, what's the use of having a private collection? This is stupid. This is like stealing someones journal but a million times worse. This reminds me of when we took over Afghanistan and the people there were complaining that with the Taliban in power at least they had some resemblence of order. I know they have civil affairs in the military. What are they doing? Obviously nothing.

This is also a tactical error as when dealing with insurgent groups in a protectorate, the integrity and power of the host nation and government must be preserved lest the population fall into belief that their government is not in control and or not benevolent and the population tends to align with insurgent powers. This is a very bad way to start a new government. Both Afghanistan and Iraq. "Liberation" has proven more costly than we should want.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

anyone remember those giant buddha statues carved into the cliffside in Afghanistan? Those were monumental. Then the taliban destroyed them because it was a "false idol". Later they said they were just doing it to bring attention to the state of affairs in the country.

 

I wonder how much of this stuff is gonna sit in some dudes kitchen or something. You know maybe not even realizing the magnitude of it's importance in history.

 

Maybe they could throw in some of Saddam's shagadelic artwork on temp status.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Register for a 12ozProphet forum account or sign in to comment

You need to be a forum member in order to comment. Forum accounts are separate from shop accounts.

Create an account

Register to become a 12ozProphet forum member.

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×