|Cradle of Civilization|
The peace-mongers have been screaming about the US allowing massive looting on the
streets of Baghdad in the power vacuum created by the collapse of the
While many people smiled smugly at the poetic justice of the Iraqis
trashing the German
embassy, few people have rejoiced in the looting and destruction of the Iraqi
National Museum. Much of the looting may be from people actually keeping the
articles safe for later, but it is clear that many of the artifacts have been
simply smashed. Iraq has been called 'the cradle of civilization',
archaeological treasures dating back millennia are gone forever, and the loss
to the discipline of Archeology is immense.
But is this so bad?
The fact is that some individual (or individuals) made a decision in Iraq
to deprive the collective of these
relics of the past. Perhaps this was the act of a thoughtless hooligan, or
perhaps it was someone who thought that it was time for Iraq to move forward.
Living in the past hasn't worked well for Iraq. Controlling people by forcing
them to live by rules laid out in a 1000 year old scripture didn't work well
for the average Iraqi. Centuries of tradition has given weight to the mindset
which has controlled and repressed people at least for decades and arguably for
centuries. Being the cradle of civilization hasn't made for a very civilized
Instead of being fixated on the past, perhaps Iraqis can now be fixated on the
future. New freedoms, new responsibility, new wealth, new possibilities, new
Iraq has a chance to move from serfdom straight into the 21st century. Dusty
old artifacts are not needed for that. Hopefully the cradle of civilization
for Iraq begins here and now.