Posted by andreas from p3EE3C255.dip.t-dialin.net (188.8.131.52) on Tuesday, October 01, 2002 at 4:28AM :
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Assyrian News Watch
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Assyrian Chaldean Syriac
Source: Independent [UK]
Date: Sept 29, 2002
Treasures of Babylon are moved as bombers strike
By Kim Sengupta in Mosul
30 September 2002
They are packing away the fabulous treasures of Assyria, Sumeria and Babylon at the archaeological sites and the museum at Mosul in preparation for the war to come, a lesson learnt from the damage inflicted in raids by American and British bombers in the Gulf War, and the looting which followed in its immediate anarchic aftermath.
As Manhal Jabar, the director of antiquities, talks of his worries that still far too much will be left exposed, a droning air-raid siren begins to sound – American and British planes are once again in the sky enforcing the northern "no-fly zone".
The city and its hinterland has been repeatedly targeted by the allies. Last month they destroyed the radar at the airport. Now, the fate of the priceless antiquities at Mosul is causing deep international worry. Mr Jabar was in London last March discussing the problem with British specialists, including Professor David Oates of Cambridge and John Curtis of the British Museum.
Two ancient sites were damaged by American bombs in 1991 while a leaning minaret built in 640 narrowly escaped destruction in 1994.
"It is obviously something that is causing unease. If there is war, and they are saying this war is going to be even worse than 1991, then we must accept there will be losses to this heritage," said Mr Jabar. " But this is not a loss just to Iraq, but to the whole world. The first written word came from here, so many ideas about art and music originated here. It will be a terrible tragedy."
The plan is to move the antiquities to underground vaults, the locations of which are being kept secret, not least to prevent the kind of sy
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