Iraqi state library in danger of being looted, under Bush’s ‘Stuff happens’ policy

This video is called End of Civilization. Looting of Baghdad Museum April 2003.

From British daily The Guardian:

Looting fear as Iraqi state library seized

Michael Howard in Irbil

Friday August 10, 2007

Thousands of rare books and manuscripts in Iraq’s national library and archive, one of the country’s most important cultural institutions, are in peril after the occupation of the building by Iraqi security forces, the library’s director said yesterday.

Saad Eskander, a respected Kurdish historian who has run the library since 2003, told the Guardian that up to 20 Iraqi troops had seized the building at gunpoint yesterday, threatening staff and guards.

“They have turned our national archive into a military target,” he said. …

They had already started to dismantle the main gate, and had smashed doors and windows inside the main building, he said. …

“The reckless actions of the Iraqi forces and the US military, who appear to condone the operation, will put the staff and library and archival collections in real danger,” said Mr Eskander.

He fears soldiers may start looting the building “or even set fire to it”. …

No one from the defence ministry or US military could be reached for comment.

Like Iraq’s national museum, the library and archive was badly damaged in the chaos that gripped Baghdad following the collapse of Saddam’s regime. Large parts were gutted by arsonists, and pillaged by looters. More seriously, the library estimated it lost 25% of its collections, including many rare books, while the archive lost 60% of its collections, including irreplaceable records from the Ottoman era. Since then, Mr Eskander and his team have rebuilt the library and archive, winning respect around the world. He has also kept a blog detailing his daily travails and the plight of his city. It can be read on the British Library website.

“By any measure, he has done a remarkable job amid very difficult circumstances,” said Andy Stephens of the British Library. “He is a Kurd and has resisted the pressure of sectarian and political influence on his work.”

Mr Eskander said: “We don’t have anyone to support us here in Iraq … You can see there is a hostility to us. They don’t want liberal secular-oriented people running cultural institutions.”

Just like the George W. Bush devotees do not want that in the United States.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has reportedly used heavy equipment to demolish the site of the ancient Assyrian capital of Nimrud, 18 miles south of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city. Reports describe ISIS militiamen trucking away statues and tablets from the site and the demolition of the area since last Thursday. The fundamentalist group considers pre-Islamic artifacts to be idolatrous and worthy of destruction: here.

2 thoughts on “Iraqi state library in danger of being looted, under Bush’s ‘Stuff happens’ policy

  1. Pingback: Turkish mining disaster, economic and political, not natural causes | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Ancient Egyptian statue vandalism by British nobleman, politicians | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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