Friday, September 15, 2006

Iraqi Antiquities

“If the destruction of sites continues, it is not just the death of archaeology,” Dr. Gibson of the University of Chicago said. “Antiquities are key to Iraq’s economy; at some point the oil will run out. Iraqi tourism will be built on archaeology.”

Yet Dr. Gibson warned that putting an archaeological department under a tourism office tends to have negative consequences because sites may become mothballed, and research possibilities lost."

- from Marie-Helene Carleton and Micah Garen's New Concern Over Fate of Iraqi Antiquities

Though in Beirut this past week (beyond multi-tasking) their story ran in the Times two weeks back.

What amazes me - besides the what-the-hell nature of the story itself - was that no one else is writing it.

The little I know about the historical significance, and subsequent looting of, Iraqi antitquities I know via the hard-earned and on-the-ground knolwedge of these two. So there was a twofold shock when I read their story: first receiving an update in which the news is so bleak (the minister of tourism now also heads the museum, looting continues, Iraq's most precious heritage is fragile at best), then wondering why, once more, the story comes from the source I know.

MH and Micah are brave and intelligent souls who've put their lives on hold and in danger to care about what is part of our collective heritage. That these two are excellent photographers and writers, with backgrounds in archeology and international relations, is our bonus. (Their site)

If we didn't have them, or they stopped reporting - who then?

And, spinning this out, what other stories don't go reported - not having their Micah and MH's to care?


1 comment:

Marie-Helene Carleton said...

thanks for this - balm for the sometimes wearied writing soul, happiest to know it is read, and understood. here's to one of my favorite blogs, and writers, charting both outward, and inward, journeys. xo mh