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Articles and thoughts by Peter Holslin

History Smash

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In 2005, John Curtis at the British Museum visited the ancient site of Babylon in Iraq, only to uncover a terrible sight: the United States military had set up a 2,000 hectare base around the ruins of Babylon, filling thousands of sandbags with the sands, laden with ancient brick and pottery. Then they covered the area over with sand flown in. Vehicles smashed into some ruins.

Not only was this was a clear violation of the Hague’s Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. This said something. Although, I’m not quite sure what the Pentagon tried to say.

For now, that’s beside the point. Thankfully, the U.S. Military turned the base over to someone responsible, Poland, who have since seemed to hold Iraq’s sites of world history in a higher regard.

Today I got an interesting bit of news from Baghdad off of Iraqcrisis: an exhibit on archaeological heritage called “Serving the Cultural Heritage of the Two Rivers’ Country. The Iraqi-Polish Co-operation in Central South Iraq 2003-2006,” which opened up on September 10th at the Babylon Hotel.

Larsa – Human Right Organization, an NGO from Iraq, curated the exhibit in cooperation with the Polish Embassy. Over 60 attended the day-long event.

Meanwhile, Chicago-based artist Michael Rakowitz continues molding replicas of pottery and sculptures stolen from Iraq Museum after the fall of Baghdad. Rackowitz uses papier mache and gets all the artifacts’ dimensions from the Oriental Institute, which also, incidentally, runs Iraqcrisis. Dig in.

It feels like a situation Walter Benjamin would’ve prophesied in The Arcades Project. Kinda late rate now. Let me get back to you.

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Written by Peter Holslin

September 13, 2007 at 5:41 am

Posted in Art/Music, Books, Iraq, News, War

One Response

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  1. Thanks for the plug for IraqCrisis

    Charles Ellwood Jones

    September 13, 2007 at 9:52 am


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