The Plight Of Mosul’s Museum: Iraqi Antiquities At Risk Of Ruin
July 09, 2014 4:11 PM ET
(As you can see the issue was known to the civilized world for many months! but nothing but meetings and comdemnations were issued, and nothing done to prevent the distruction of humanity’s historic treasures)
Christopher Dickey, foreign editor for the Daily Beast, speaks to Melissa Block about the dangers facing antiquities in a museum and other archaeological sites in the Iraqi city of Mosul.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I’m Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I’m Melissa Block. As Sunni insurgents have swept through Iraq seizing cities, they’ve also begun destroying ancient artifacts. Shrines, tombs and statues that the group ISIS believes are against Islam. Present day Iraq was once Mesopotamia, the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and considered the cradle of civilization. Now there’s great concern that antiquities and archaeological sites will be wiped out. As Christopher Dickey writes in the Daily Beast, it’s a virtual certainty that irreplaceable history will be annihilated or sold into the netherworld of corrupt and cynical collectors. Mr. Dickey joins me not from Paris. Thanks for being with us.
CHRISTOPHER DICKEY: Sure thing Melissa.
BLOCK: And you write of particular concern about the province of Nineveh and the city of Mosul, in particular the Mosul Museum. Describe what’s there and the significance of these artifacts.
DICKEY: Well, what’s at risk are some beautiful monumental sculptures, these winged figures, lions and bulls, with the faces of bearded men – Kings, that clearly were idols in the time of the Assyrians. But that are now part and parcel of the history of Western civilization and biblical history especially. And then we’ve also got gorgeous gold jewelry which certainly will go onto the black market and all kinds of smaller pieces of sculpture, earthenware, the kinds of things that give you the texture as well as the beauty of life in that period. So it’s a rich museum but all of that collection is now in the hands of ISIS.