Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Iraq's Antiquities

The destruction and looting of cultural artifacts and antiquities in war torn areas is not a new occurrence nor is it uncommon. The well fare of artifacts and antiquities is not the most important thought of those who are in areas of constant conflict and struggle. Destruction as well as death is a part of war, and it should not be the responsibility of those who are living in these areas to protect inanimate objects when there is chaos going on around them. To try and explain to someone the importance of these items and force them to care while they have no place to live is arrogant and imprudent. However, I do believe that these artifacts are important historically and there should be measures taken to salvage what we can.
I believe the best course of action would be to set up a commission whose sole interest would be the protection of antiquities in areas of war. This commission should be made up of a broad scope of interested parties. It would be my wish that the remaining antiquities, which can be moved safely, be moved to a safer location until stability and order are returned to the country. This location should be agreed upon by a majority and done only for the preservation of the artifacts. As for the antiquities that can not be removed, the commission should have established guidelines about what groups should be assigned the task of protecting and preserving the remaining objects. These groups should take appropriate steps to make sure these locations are not looted and/or destroyed further without endangering themselves or others. This commission should be separate from governments and be strictly done for the interest of preserving important historical antiquities. The idea of a non-government related commission to help keep the integrity of historical artifacts not just in Iraq but in all cases where destruction to these items is occurring would be ideal.

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