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The Effects The War On Iraq Has On Ancient Art

691 words - 3 pages

CLASS:Art AppreciationARTICLE:The New York Times, February 25, 2003TITLE:Oldest Human History is at Risk by Holland Carter andWar in Iraq Would Halt Digs in Region by John Noble WilfordSUMMARY OF ARTICLESAs we all know, unless other action is taken, there will be war in Iraq in the upcoming months. This would be devastating not only the people there, but on the historical artifacts and thousands of archeological sites in that region. The author pointed out that there are '10,000 identified sites, but only a fraction have been explored revealing the world's earliest known villages and cities and the first examples of writing.'The first article depicted some urban cities of ancient Persian civilization like Ur which boasts of the best preserved ziggurat in Iraq, and Babylon which has documented history in the Bible and has yielded a large collection of pre-Islamic pottery. Many of these ruins have been ...view middle of the document...

Iraq is also a nation that has a lot of spiritual impact on the Islamic religion. There are many shrines and monuments outside even the more modern cities like Baghdad, Basra and Mosul and if the country is attacked, it is believed that these religious artifacts will be destroyed in the conflict. There was a quote in the paper from Zainab Bahrani, an Iraqi who teaches at Columbia University. He said that if any of these shrines are hit, there would be a very angry reaction from Muslims everywhere. It would be like bombing St. Peter's in Rome.The second editorial was the fact that even the rumors of possible war in Iraq is already halting archeology in not only that country but all across the Middle East. Many European research teams have already left Iraq and most of the usual summer excavation teams are canceling their trips all across the region from Israel, Turkey, Jordan, Syria and even Egypt. An interesting fact was that even though plans for unearthing more treasure are temporarily cancelled, the archeologists are not taking a break. They are petitioning to the officials of the State and Defense Departments in stressing the importance of the 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Even of Armed Conflict. On reading regulations for protection myself, it occurred to me that if any of the historical and cultural sites are destroyed, America would be held liable to the destruction according to the Hague Convention and would have to rectify the damage.These articles were both quite interesting. I did not know that there were over 10,000 archeological sites in the Middle East and Mesopotamia, and had never even contemplated the damage that this war would bring to not only in Iraq but other Middle Eastern countries as well, and the potential destruction of our history and heritage. While many people are fighting to stop the war and save lives, only a few have considered probable damage to the art. It would be a shame if the grim future that many of these archeologists see came to past. We could have possibly lost more than we gained.

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