Monday, January 25, 2010

Iraq will 'entrust shrine to international authorities'

Update: The Iraqi Government has ordered the Ministry of Antiquities to entrust the reconstruction of Ezekiel's shrine at al-Kifl in Iraq to 'specialised International Authorities'.

The surprise statement follows a storm of publicity raised by Professor Shmuel Moreh, Chairman of the Academics from Iraq in Israel. The news, spread by the blogosphere (including Point of No Return) and Israel Army Radio, that workmen had done 'irreversible damage' to the shrine, plastering over ancient Hebrew inscriptions, seems to have embarrassed the Iraqi government into a damage-limitation exercise of their own.

On Saturday, Iraqi TV and al-Arabiyya TV broadcast a film to show that the tomb itself was not damaged. The Iraqis are hoping that "there will be no more exaggeration about this issue."

Professor Moreh wants the Iraqi authorities to transfer control over the restoration and reconstruction of Ezekiel's shrine to UNESCO. It is not clear when this transfer will happen.

The Iraqis may feel that they have deflected international attention for the moment. Unless the world remains vigilant and holds the Iraqi authorities to their word, and international pressure is kept up, the Iraqis may just quietly continue destroying the original features of the shrine.

Please write to Mrs Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO, urging her organisation to take immediate control of Ezekiel's shrine. (UNESCO website) (Mrs Bokova's personal website)


Stuart said...

Well that's a little more encouraging.

You have my virtual hat-tip and a huge well done, because you are partly responsible for this development.

I have cross-posted

Update: The Iraqi Government has ordered the Ministry of Antiquities to entrust the reconstruction of Ezekiel’s shrine at al-Kifl in Iraq to ’specialised International Authorities’.

Well done you!

This Is Hell said...

Oh please they're just going to turn it into a stable or knock it down. Iraqi claims about anything vaguely Jewish are as worthless as dust.

Stuart said...

@ This is Hell.

We have to stay positive, fight and raise awareness regardless of the outcome.

Anonymous said...

Haiti's last Jews keep the faith and lend a hand amid the crisis

For more than 500 years, a small Jewish community from Lebanon, Brazil, Syria and Egypt has been in Haiti. Now only 25 are left.


Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

We have no guarantee that the Iraqi govt will in fact hand over the shrine to some international body, such as UNESCO. But if they do, then there's another problem. How can we trust any international body??

Does any reasonable person, particularly a Jew, trust the UN or any of its subsidiary bodies??

bataween said...

Fair point, Eliyahu. That's why we need to make the Iraqis aware we are watching them. We can't trust any international body, but what choice do we have? We can only hope that an international body is more likely to preserve than destroy.

victor said...

I can understand Jews not trusting anything the UN does. I'm in that same camp myself. impression of UNESCO is that it is perhaps the least brainwashed from among the various UN subsidiaries. For example, UNESCO has declared several sites in Israel (including the Bauhaus architecture of Tel Aviv) as world heritage sites.