Fancy that! Who is civilised?


Afghanistan Museum Artifacts

Shock and horror on acts in Afghanistan, yet this is what every American needs to know…

March 2001

1. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell describing the damage to ancient Buddha statues in Afghanistan as a crime and a tragedy: “It’s horrible. It’s a tragedy. It’s a crime against humankind, and I deplore it”.

2. Phillippe De Montebello, Director of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art’s appeal to the Taliban not to smash all the statues from Afghanistan’s rich cultural past – he said the museum would purchase the artifacts rather than see them destroyed: “We are making this offer. Let us come at our own cost and let us remove what we are able to remove. Let us remove them so that they are in the context of an art museum, where they are cultural objects, works of art and not cult images”.

OF COURSE CULTURAL ARTIFACTS ARE TO BE PROTECTED BUT WHAT HAPPENED TO THE MUSEUMS IN IRAQ?

” It has been usual to explain the chaos and looting in Baghdad, the destruction of infrastructure, ministries, museums and the national library and archives, as caused by a failure of Rumsfeld’s planning. But the evidence is this was at least in part a mask for the destruction of the collective memory and modern state of a key Arab nation, and the manufacture of disorder to create a hunger for the occupier’s supervision. As the Suddeutsche Zeitung reported in May 2003, US troops broke the locks of museums, ministries and universities and told looters: “Go in Ali Baba, it’s all yours!”.

Richard Drayton writing in the Guardian, 28th December 2005

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Salaam blogger notes: What did Gandhi say? “What do I think of Western civilization? I think it would be a very good idea”. (68)

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