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Thursday, August 26

Sacred Artifacts in Peril from Iraq to Israel

Newsweek has excellent articles in the current issue and online about the treasures in Iraq being looted, destroyed and sold on the black market. Much of what lies beneath Iraq tells the story of civilation.

Beneath the sands and silt of Iraq, for millennium after millennium, truths have waited to be pieced together about these legendary places that loom so large in the faith and culture of Jews, Christians and Muslims. "This is where the first writing began, where the first ideas of law and religions were written down," says archeologist McGuire Gibson at the University of Chicago. Golden calves, winged bulls and rampant lions have emerged from the dust...

...In Israel, much care is taken to preserve the slightest trace that might reveal literal truths about the mystical teachings of scripture. The tragedy of Iraq is that contexts are disappearing as fast as the objects themselves. -Unearthing the Bible

In an article, Saving Eden, we learn more of the looting of Iraq's treasures.

Now, every day and every night, the record beneath the sands is being destroyed. In what have become the lawless wilds of occupied Iraq, the history of civilization is being pillaged on an epic scale for a black market where irreplaceable fragments of our past are sold to museums, to sophisticated collectors or just to the highest bidder on e-Bay.

There are lots more articles on the right hand sidebar at Newsweek online. I know that there is a lot to worry about these days, but the history geek in me wishes that our people currently in Iraq would understand the importance of its history as much as they would respect the enormity of archeological finds in Israel. Both countries hold the answers to many unanswered questions.

Years ago when I was in the seminary and broke, I was dying to work on a dig in Israel. Now that I can afford to go on a dig, I'm scared shitless to go to the middle east. What else is new? We need peace in the middle east desperately. Beware of christian zionists. They have no intention of bringing about peace between Israel and Palestine. They'd like to see it destroyed in war so that Jesus will come again.

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