Sunday, August 27, 2006

Bad News from Iraq

Seriously. Donny George is himself a national treasure and a fierce and wise guardian of Iraq's antiquities. He protected them from Saddam's sons, who saw them as tchotchkes for their crass palaces, and he protected them from the looters in 2003. If he's leaving now, something is seriously wrong, and he describes it in this article.

I knew of his work through reading about history. But after the invasion, when the wild stories about the looting of the museum began, I started attending briefings at University of Pennsylvania, which has a long history in Iraq digs, and there I got to hear about Donny George firsthand from top people in the field who had an almost reverential respect for him -- not a typical situation for American academics discussing the head of a national museum in the Middle East.