Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Looting in Iraq: "it may not be typical of the country as a whole, and the situation could be worse further north"

Melik Kaylan published a story yesterday on looting in Iraq ("So Much for the 'Looted Sites'", Wall Street Journal, July 15, 2008) arising from Martin Bailey's story in The Art Newspaper earlier this month.

Kaylan actually cites Professor Lawrence Rothfield's recently edited book, Antiquities under Siege: Cultural Heritage Protection after the Iraq War (AltaMira, 2008), where it is estimated "that, every year, roughly 10% of Iraq's heritage was being destroyed".

Kaylan also quotes from Dr John Curtis of the British Museum, commenting on the observation there has been no further looting 8 out of some 10,000 sites in Iraq "it may not be typical of the country as a whole, and the situation could be worse further north."

Now Rothfield has responded to Kaylan:
I've already detailed, below, the evidence for looting, much of which comes from those political radicals the Polish civil-military brigade and the Italian carabinieri. (I shared all this information with the writer of the WSJ article, by the way, but he chose not to use any of it, for reasons that should be clear.)

(See also Rothfield's "Yet more looting in Southern Iraq".)

1 comment:

Alyssa said...

It seems horribly ironic to me that Kaylan insinuates archaeologists have a hidden political agenda in reporting on widespread looting, when clearly his article is meant to exculpate America's role in allowing the thefts - note the pretty irrelevant mention of the WAC (those damn liberal hippie archaeologists!) and references to widespread looting under Saddam Hussein's regime. How does the fact that looting was going on in the 90s justify the fact that looting is STILL going on, uncontrolled, under American occupation? That's a false dichotomy.

It's amazing that he criticizes the due diligence of the press without doing much of his own. Hypocrisy at its worst.

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