Friday, May 1, 2009

A Complicated Cultural Fiasco

Here is an interesting interview with Lawrence Rothfield, author of The Rape of Mesopotamia.

This is the author's one-sentence summary of his book:

The looting of the Iraq Museum (and the even more disastrous pillaging of thousands of Mesopotamian sites) was a complicated fiasco arising out of a number of factors: indifferent political leadership, to be sure, but also an international legal framework that has not caught up with the new threat of post-combat looting by civilians; a military that has no built-in capability for policing sites and museums; weak cultural heritage bureaucracies and N.G.O.s oriented toward conservation rather than protection efforts; and an insatiable demand for Mesopotamian antiquities by super-wealthy collectors.