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Biggest cultural disaster since 1258 |
By Humberto Marquez
One million books, 10 million documents, and 14,000 archaeological artifacts have been lost in the U.S.-led invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq — the biggest cultural disaster since the descendants of Genghis Khan destroyed Baghdad in 1258, Venezuelan writer Fernando Baez told Inter Press Service.
"U.S. and Polish soldiers are still stealing treasures today and selling them across the borders with Jordan and Kuwait, where art merchants pay up to $57,000 for a Sumerian tablet," said Baez, who was interviewed during a brief visit to Caracas in February.
The expert on the destruction of libraries has helped document the devastation of cultural and religious objects in Iraq, where the ancient Mesopotamian kingdoms of Sumer, Akkad, and Babylon emerged, giving it a reputation as the birthplace of civilization.
His inventory of the destruction and his denunciations that the coalition forces are violating the Hague Convention of 1954 on the protection of cultural heritage in times of war have earned him the enmity of Washington.
Baez said he was refused a visa to enter the United States to take part in conferences.
In addition, he has been barred from returning to Iraq "to carry out further investigations," he added. "But it's too late, because we already have documents, footage and photos that in time will serve as evidence of the atrocities committed," said Baez, the author of The Cultural Destruction of Iraq and A Universal History of the Destruction of Books, which were published in Spanish.
Baez accused U.S. forces of violating the Hague Convention, which states that cultural property must be protected in the event of armed conflict, saying, “That is a criminally punishable offence, which is why Washington has not signed the convention, or the 1999 protocol attached to it. And perhaps it is one reason the administration of George W. Bush is seeking immunity for its soldiers. But it is not only the United States; the rest of the coalition forces are also guilty.”
He continued, “…the U.S. Army was criminally negligent, failing to protect libraries, museums and archaeological sites despite clear warnings from UNESCO, the UN, the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute and the former head of the U.S. president's Advisory Committee on Cultural Property, Martin Sullivan.
The Iraqis who went out to loot interpreted the negligence as a green light to act without restraint… “There was also direct destruction and looting. In Nassiria in May 2004, a year after the formal end of hostilities, during fighting with Moqtada al-Sadr's militants, 40,000 religious manuscripts were destroyed in a fire (set by the coalition forces). And when soldiers found out that the Sumerian city of Ur was the birthplace of the prophet Abraham, they took ancient bricks as souvenirs…
“In late May 2004, the Italian Carabinieri were caught trying to smuggle looted cultural artifacts over the border into Kuwait. And the British Museum reported that Polish forces destroyed part of Babylon's ancient ruins, to the south of Baghdad...
“More recently it was found that Polish troops drove heavy vehicles near the Nebuchadnezzar Palace, which dates back to the sixth century BC, and then covered large areas of the site with asphalt, doing irreparable damage. There were also attempts to gouge out bricks at the Gate of Ishtar.
To that is added the collapse of ancient walls due to the continuous passage of U.S. trucks and helicopters, and walls spray-painted with graffiti... “Another accusation that can be made against the United States is that it has created a less safe country overall, by generating the conditions for cultural destruction, which will be even worse in future years, due to the situation of legal insecurity.
In the days of the looting of Baghdad, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld went so far as to say that looting ‘isn't something that someone allows or doesn't allow. It's something that happens.’ Today Iraq is like a golf course for the world's terrorists, and its cultural treasures will not be safe in the future… the damage is incalculable.
In the Baghdad National Library, around one million books were burnt, including early editions of Arabian Nights, mathematical treatises by Omar Khayyam, and tracts by philosophers Avicena and Averroes… besides the national museum and library, the al-Awqaf library, which held over 5,000 Islamic manuscripts, university libraries and the library of Bayt al-Hikma also suffered.
At least 10 million documents have been lost in Iraq altogether.” Baez lamented, “It is a paradox: the inventors of the electronic book returned to Mesopotamia, where books, history and civilization were born, to destroy it.”
Как безгранична человеческая подлость.. оооо боже.
Люди которые себя называют цивилизованными людьми грабят и уничтожают памятники истории первой Человеческой Цивилизации.
Подонки, сукены дети
Гр****ный *цивилизатор* у которого в голове кроме бикмака ничего нету ворует шумерские клинописи и продает их за деньги. Ай болван в этой клинописи мог быть ключ к спасению вашей гр****ной цивилизации который наткнулся на айсберг и тонет как Титаник. Идиоты без памяти и правдивой Истории Человечество обреченно крутится в инфернальном круге как белка в колесе.
И симптоматично что об этом пишет не какой то Американский историк. Или скажем Европейский а Венесуельский писатель.
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