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Volume :38 Issue : 147 2012      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

Information Centers and Libraries Caught in Conflict: The Case of Kuwait and Iraq

Auther : Dr. Taghreed Alqudsi-Ghabra

     The world's cultural heritage is vulnerable to natural as well as manmade disasters. Fire, water damage, heat, and dust, let alone the suffering of different forms of cultural representations, such as books, museums, and artifacts at the hands of ideology always committed in the guise of reason. Consequently, the world's cultural collections and heritages need to be protected from the threats posed by natural disasters and by deliberate and accidental destruction. This paper documents the pillaging of cultural heritage in Kuwait in the late 20th century and in Iraq in the early 21st century. In both cases, Iraq is involved, one time as an invader and another as the invaded. The paper tries to examine and explain the reasons that caused the pillaging in both cases and investigates international legislations intended to prevent similar situations of destruction, damage and loss. The paper touches on managing collections and minimizing losses, as a goal for professionals in the hope of preserving the worlds cultural heritage. It sheds light on what professionals can do to ward off and prevent similar losses and points to the illegality of destroying, trading, or targeting cultural heritage artifacts and ways to prevent losses to cultures and to humanity. Even though the paper focuses on museum collections, almost all aspects of destruction and counter destruction measures are applicable to libraries and information centers.
     Greed has been- -to use a word I dont like--``globalised'', pillage has been industrialized. Bulldozers rather than spades are used to erase the walls and civilization of our ancestors, steel containers prepared for the stolen heritage beneath the land. It is now we who are being pillaged--and we are--in a sense doing this to ourselves.
(Fisk, as cited in Stone, 2008, p. XIII)
 

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