Monday, February 11, 2008

A policy on Iraq's art: how should we go about saving it from damage and looting.

If I had to put in place a policy. A system to be used during and after war time. Something that would decrease the amount of looting and artifact destruction that goes on in Iraq. I would try my best to round up a committee of archaeologists who would be put in charge of collecting and documenting these ancient works. (When I say I. I mean the government should.) Helpers in this feat would be employed from the locals. They would be paid a minimum and commission for what and how much they found by the archaeologists whose salaries are also paid accordingly by the government. The government would be responsible for hiring round the clock guards at ten times the normal wage. They will be supplied with stun guns and holding cells for looters. (Looters will be punished with community service and jail time for multiple offenses.) Not only will they guard the site but they will live there in a small scientist community. The scientists and local workers will live there as well. Kind of like a summer camp. They will stay there and work for as long as it takes to uncover, carefully, as much as possible or all artifacts they can find. These little communities will provide jobs and structure for local Iraqis, and if simulated probably and considering the amount of history there is in that sand will help to improve the economy in some places for a long time. These communities should have running water and electricity. This means generators and large water containments. Once again providing more jobs for local people. There will be storage buildings for all artifacts found. These buildings will be protected by guards as well and will be equipped with cameras and a docking bay. This bay will be for the trucks that will come to collect the findings and take them back to the museum. They will be able to more easily get to these remote places by the new road the government will build. Once again providing more jobs for locals. The road will have check points. To keep up with the progress of the trucks to the museum. The people working there will have a network of computers so each will know the progress of the other. Hopefully, after a while the community itself will turn into a small town as people apply for permits to set up stores for the archaeologists, workers, and guards to shop at.
Basically, the hope of this system is to make archeology the foundation of small towns providing security, income and economic growth. Kind of like the gold rush did for the west in the United States. Plus it's just all together harder to loot from occupied space. Everyones watching.
Iraq is torn by war and oil. It's government which is the one that is responsible for these treasures in the sand will never get a chance to handle them with the care required and will never put enough money into it.
If perhaps oil reserves ran dry. Then maybe finally (after they get over that shock) they can uncover from the ground what is truly important.

(I have no suggestions when it comes to the involvement of any other governments. This policy is more likely to work in a dream world but any policy when it comes to protecting something other then oil in Iraq may seem to be conceived from one.)

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