Sunday, 13 April 2008

Ancient Civilizations

When writing about my visit at Kashan’s Tappeh-ye Seyalk in 2005, I have to stress that most of the treasures excavated there in the 1930s found their way to The Louvre, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The British Museum. Sadly, some even went to private collections.

Some years ago, a similar looting took place in Shahr-e-Sookhte near Jiroft, well before scientific excavations could start at the site in 2001. When visiting Tehran’s National Museum in November last year, I saw only a replica of the stele with Hammurabi’s (1728-1686 BC) Code. The original is on display at The Louvre. I am afraid that most of the treasures of the Cradle of Civilization, i.e., Iran, Iraq, can be seen in the museums of the West nowadays.

These days the fall of Baghdad marks its 5th Anniversary. Among some very negative impressions was the looting of Iraq’s National Museum while US troops didn‘t do too much to prevent it. According to Gen Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, it was about priorities: “After all, people were being wounded, even killed.” It is, however, also about how treasures belonging to the World's cultural heritage are being respected by a people lacking more or less any sense for ancient civilizations not talking about peculiarities of foreign cultures.

When living in Kuwait, I was an eager listener of VOA, not because of the propaganda but because of some good talk shows, even good Rock and Jazz music. What attracted my attention most, however, was “The Making of a Nation”. It is produced in Special English, making sure that even the common man with limited practice and skills in English would be able to follow. And it addresses primarily, of course, the people in the Middle East. It is, however, in a way a strange assumption that America’s bloody history of a couple of centuries only would be a good example, in any way, for teaching the World what is really meant by Democracy.


uzaklar said...

Hello from Turkiye,

I am a teacher in Igdir city nearby the Iran and Nahcivan border. I found this blog random. The information contained in your blog is very detailed and informative with nice pictures on Iran and other Midle Eastern countries. I think such informative blogs may support understanding and friendship between our peoples who are very far to each other due to political issues. Thank you. Fatih Cakir from Igdir, Turkiye

Muller said...

Hi Cakir!
Thanks a lot! Yes, that is a nice opportunity for posting my material over the last 7 years or so. In the meantime, I have left the Middle East for other challenges, but my heart is still beating there ;-), of course.