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by Mark Vallen - ART FOR A CHANGE
Thursday, Apr. 10, 2003 at 7:56 AM
Mosul Museum, Tikrit Museum, and a museum in Al-Zohur Palace in Baghdad which houses treasures of the deposed Iraqi royal family, have all been hit in bombing raids in recent days
tikrit-museum.jpg, image/jpeg, 384x255
Mosul Museum, Tikrit Museum, and a museum in Al-Zohur Palace in Baghdad which houses treasures of the deposed Iraqi royal family, have all been hit in bombing raids in recent days, according to Mounir Bouchenaki, assistant director general for culture at the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). United Press International and Reuters have verified the bombings. Reuters reported the bombing of the Tikrit Museum on April 9th... the building was apparently hit by missiles.
UNESCO is urging the United States to safeguard Iraq's unique cultural heritage. The situation is particularly unstable in Baghdad itself. The only "authority" in the city right now is the U.S. Marines... who are not preventing the massive looting now going on. The Baghdad Museum is vulnerable to being looted or even destroyed in fighting, and it has one of the greatest collections of ancient Iraqi Art in the world. The Museum holds objects from ancient Mesopotamia and the succession of cultures that followed, including Sumerian and Babylonian.
UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura said in a statement: "Iraq, the cradle of civilizations that go back thousands of years, has many treasures and sites that are a valuable part of the heritage of all mankind. The United States should take all possible steps to protect and preserve the outstandingly rich Iraqi heritage for the benefit of future generations."
UNESCO Deputy Culture Director Munir Bushenaki said he had been informed of damage to the museums of Tikrit and Mosul and watched live footage on television as a site which he identified as Baghdad's Al-Zohour ("Flowers") Palace was hit by bombs. "The palace houses a museum containing a major collection of works," he told Reuters by telephone. Bushenaki also raised concern that the national museum of Baghdad had been hit during an attack on a nearby government ministry, although had no proof of damage. "It's just 500 meters away. It is one of the finest museums in the Middle East. We have just helped in a major renovation of it. It would be a great shame if it were damaged."
Bushenaki said UNESCO had provided Washington with a map of 25,000 Iraqi archaeological sites and museums, and the Pentagon had received briefings from leading experts about vulnerable sites. The Pentagon replied by saying only 400 sites would be placed on a list considered "non-targets."
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