Monday, May 19, 2003

Your pro-war friends who smugly remind you that not as many museum artifacts were lost or destroyed in Iraq as originally feared need to read this:

...Basra University remained one of the few things that seemed to function well here, according to students and teachers. It has long been a source of pride for Basra, a city of 1.5 million people.

Now, a library that professors say contained two million volumes dating back to 1015 is a mess of twisted metal shelves atop ashes from the books set ablaze by looters.

The blue dome that professors say housed the oldest astronomy department in the Middle East is still there, but inside there is nothing but rubble. The law school, the economics department, the art school, the Arabic studies wing — all are ruined. The damage goes beyond what would be caused in mere burglary, crossing over into wanton destruction....

Volumes dating back to 1015 -- gone. But hey, the oil is secure, right?

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