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[Xmca-l] Re: Sledgehammers in Mosul



I urge people to actually look at the video clip that Helena uploaded.
Highlights:

a) An archaeologist from UCL who points out that at least some of the works
are plaster casts (with rim bars sticking out in places!). The real stuff
is undoubtedly being unloaded for cash on the black market.

b) An art expert from the British Museum who points out that the Winged
Lion of Ninevah is probably the real thing--and one of the very few pieces
of North Iraq's heritage which was not taken either to Baghdad (where the
Americans allowed very similar looting and vandalism after Saddam fell) or
to London, Paris and Berlin. She says that this is "wonderful" for us, but
"pretty rotten" for the locals.

I had an old girlfriend who curated the Iranian art collection at the
British Librarary for a few years. Shortly after Khomeini came to power, an
Iranian student asked to see a priceless Persian manuscript, and my friend
allowed her to take it off to a cubicle. After she left, my friend
discovered that most of the pages of the work were missing; they later
resurfaced in a museum in Teheran.

We had a furious argument about what the student had done; my friend
insisted that the BL was holding works "in trust" for the peoples of the
world. That's all very well, but the British government is witholding the
visas, and the costs of living in London ensure that the only way that a
poor Iranian student can share her country's patrimony with brothers and
sisters back home is to do what that Iranian student did.

But...my friend argued...the stuff may be destroyed. The Iranian mullahs
weren't iconoclasts, but they were already pretty careless and corrupt.
True--but consider the fate of the Dunhuang manuscripts, stolen from the
caves at Mogao in China by Aurel Stein and Paul Perriot. Some of them form
the core of the British Library collection today. Others were bombed to
smithereens in Dresden during the war.

David Kellogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies



On 1 March 2015 at 07:46, larry smolucha <lsmolucha@hotmail.com> wrote:

> Message from Francine:
>
> Shirin,
>
> The polemic that such violence in the name of Islam is a response
> to European colonialism, capitalism, and the war in Iraq totally lacks
> credibility.
> There is no doubt that the war in Iraq created the opportunity for the
> rise of ISIS. But everyone knows that the animosity between Sunni and
> Shiite
> predates European and U.S. presence in the Middle East.
>
> The pillaging of Constantinople and the Basilica of Hagia Sophia was
> carried out by
> Turks in the name of Islam (in 1453). While many Muslims demand that the
> Temple Mount in Jerusalem and the land of Israel be returned to them,
> using the
> same logic how about returning Constantinople to the Europeans?
>
> This is now a post-Said world, thanks to ISIS.
>
> > From: shirinvossoughi@gmail.com
> > Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2015 12:16:22 -0600
> > To: xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
> > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Sledgehammers in Mosul
> >
> > Helena,
> > What is the message here? Does the link speak for itself and what does it
> > say? I am thinking about the "cultural vandalism" of the west in Iraq and
> > other parts of the region, and of the complex history (in which the US
> has
> > played a central role) that has led to what is being depicted in this
> > story. I do not mean to re-inscribe simplified west vs. middle east
> > narratives, but I do want to question how we are being asked to interpret
> > such acts. In this clip, as in so much media coverage of the region, such
> > practices are rooted in the uniquely anti-democratic or anti-free speech
> > tendencies of Islam. As Said famously argued, "we" are thereby exalted as
> > all the more democratic and free.
> > I wish the Western experts lamenting the destruction of artifacts in this
> > clip had as loudly and boldly lamented the destruction of life in the
> > brutal wars that led to this mess.
> > Shirin
> >
> > On Sat, Feb 28, 2015 at 10:38 AM, Helena Worthen <
> helenaworthen@gmail.com>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > http://bcove.me/1yo9t5x9
> > >
> > >
> > > Helena Worthen
> > > helenaworthen@gmail.com
> > >
> > >
> > >
>