College Art Association

CAA News Today

Vigils for Anniversary of Iraq Museum Looting

posted by Christopher Howard — Apr 08, 2009

April 10–12, 2009, is the sixth anniversary of the looting of the National Museum in Baghdad and the subsequent pillaging of archeological sites across Iraq. In the years since 2003, Saving Antiquities for Everyone (SAFE) has held, and has encouraged others to hold, global candlelight vigils in commemoration of the tragic loss suffered by the ransacking of the museum and the looting of artworks and artifacts there—many of which are still missing despite the recent reopening of seven museum galleries.

In New York, a gathering is taking place on April 11, 6:00–7:30 PM, in Washington Square Park. For those living in or near New York, please join the vigil. Donny George, former director of the Iraq Museum, is scheduled to speak.

Elsewhere in the United States, lectures, discussions, and SAFE-related vigils are being held at institutions in Fairbanks, Alaska; St. Paul, Minnesota; Eugene, Oregon; Ceres, California; and Amherst, Massachusetts. Please see the full list of vigil times and locations. You may also host a vigil in your own area.

To show additional support, please light a virtual candle on the SAFE website. By completing a simple form, your name and location will be displayed on your personal candle page and will also be listed on the main virtual-candle page.

For a review of the tragic events of 2003, read an interview with Donny George, conducted by Zainab Bahrani, in the September 2007 CAA News, as well as his detailed talk prepared for the 2008 Annual Conference in the May 2008 issue.

SAFE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving cultural heritage worldwide. Its mission is to raise public awareness about the irreversible damage that results from looting, smuggling, and trading illicit antiquities. SAFE promotes respect for the laws and treaties that enable nations to protect their cultural property and preserve humanity’s most precious nonrenewable resource: the intact evidence of our undiscovered past. While the impetus to found SAFE was the ransacking of the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad in April 2003, its efforts are global. SAFE has no political affiliations.