Thursday, March 12, 2015

195.1 - Good News: national museum in Baghdad reopens

Good News: national museum in Baghdad reopens

Just one little bit of Good News to get things started.

The national museum in Baghdad, Iraq, has reopened.

One of the tragedies that occurred in the wake of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 was the looting of the national museum. Museum officials said that almost 15,000 pieces were stolen, most of them probably to be sold on the black market in antiquities. It was a crashing blow to Iraq's physical cultural heritage, one we could, to get sense of it, compare to the looting of the Smithsonian Institution or the National Archives - or both.

Now, 12 years after it was ransacked, with 4,300 of the most important works recovered, the museum has reopened while the search for the remaining antiquities goes on.

The dark side of this is that the re-opening was moved up in response to new destruction of antiquities in Mosul by Daesh - that is, ISIS - which destruction seems to me, frankly, to be a case of bilious spite, of "we'll do as much damage as we can before we get kicked out of the city."

But just for the moment, let's focus on the culture, the history, that has been saved. The re-opening of the national museum in Baghdad is Good News.

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