Wed, October 08, 2008
Video > SINA Podcast Collection

No public show for Iraq's treasures

2008-10-08 08:10:02 GMT2008-10-08 16:10:02 (Beijing Time) Reuters

Under lock and key, the remnants of Iraq's looted cultural heritage remains hidden from public view.

The country's antiquities and museum's chief, Amira Edan al-Dahab, says the National Museum in Baghdad will stay shut until security improves.

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) AMIRA EDAN AL-DAHAB, DIRECTOR OF IRAQ'S ANTIQUITIES AND MUSEUMS, SAYING:

"We cannot risk displaying once again the treasures we have unless we receive guarantees that the security situation is 100 percent stable in Baghdad and the area surrounding the Iraq Museum."

The museum was ransacked in the frenzy of looting that engulfed the Iraqi capital in the days following the city's fall to U.S. forces.

What the robbers couldn't remove they smashed or burned.

The plundering of Iraq's treasures took place under the noses of American troops.

Cultural experts were furious - accusing U.S.forces of ignoring their pleas to protect Iraq's antiquities.

Five and half years later, and al-Dahab says curators are still trying to determine what was taken.

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) AMIRA EDAN AL-DAHAB, DIRECTOR OF IRAQ'S ANTIQUITIES AND MUSEUMS, SAYING:

"We estimated the number of missing pieces from Iraq Museum at 15,000."

Iraq has been called the cradle of civilisation, where writing was invented and the first cities appeared 5,000 years ago.

But many of the objects and artifacts which bore witness to mankind's development are gone forever, causing incalulable loss to the world's cultural heritage.

There is some good news, however.

Thousands of looted treasures have been recovered - thanks in part to international efforts to arrest smugglers.

But it may be many years before ordinary Iraqis are able to walk through the museum's hallowed halls once more.

Helen Long, Reuters

Related News

Add Your Comments:

Your Name:
Your Country:
Comment:
(English Only)
 
Please read our Terms of Service. Messages that harass, abuse or threaten others; have obscene or otherwise objectionable content; have spam, commercial or advertising content or links may be removed.

SPECIAL COVERAGE

MOST VIEWED

LATEST VIDEO

PICTURE GALLERY