Thursday, December 19, 2013

Returning the archive without its owners


 A copy of the Babylonian Talmud from 1793


 The Jews of Iraq have found a champion in Nabil al-Hadairi, writing in the Gatestone Institute. Here the UK-based Islamic scholar inveighs against the return of the Iraqi-Jewish archive. The Iraqis want the books back, but are not prepared to give their owners their rights. (With thanks: Jonah)

The question is: How can the archives be sent back to Iraq without real guarantees, particularly as the government claims it has multiples of that volume in Iraq? If so, why does the government not fully conserve and maintain the existing volumes and then place them in museums and exhibit them so they can be of use?
The other question is: Where are the rights of the Jews of Iraq today? The Iraqi government should return to them their citizenship, then returned to them all property and assets unjustly and wrongfully plundered, and compensate them for the great losses they suffered. How can an archive be returned without its true owners? Such an act is unreasonable and unacceptable.
This fall, two Iraqi experts travelled to the U.S. to study the archival material of Iraq's former Jewish community, in order to prepare measures of conserving it so that they can take care of the archive when it is returned to Iraq. At present, work is progressing rapidly in the branch archives in College Park by a team of experts with high-tech equipment for cleaning and restoration and digitization of records and documents.

It is strange that there is much talk today about sending the Jewish archives next year to the Iraqi Department of Antiquities in Baghdad, although it is not clear where it is to be kept or exhibited. (The National Library of Iraq has been suggested - ed)

The question is: How can the archives be sent back to Iraq without real guarantees for its preservation, maintenance and access, particularly as the government claims it has multiples of that volume in Iraq? If so, why does the government not fully conserve and maintain the already existing volumes and then place them in museums and exhibit them so they can be of use?

The other question is: Where are the rights of the Jews of Iraq today? If the Iraqi government acknowledges their great history, it should return to them their citizenship, first and foremost. In the First Interfaith Conference convened in Suleimania last year this author demanded that they be given their parliamentary seats, just like other religions, then have returned to them all property and assets unjustly and wrongfully plundered, and be compensated for the great losses they suffered. How can the archive be returned without its true owners? Such a act is unreasonable and unacceptable.

Read article in full

More from Nabil al-Hadairi

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

concerning the country in question, it's simple: the JEws have no rights!!!
sultana

Anonymous said...

This story is starting to get a bit of traction in Canada. Just wondering how many Jews globally have Iraqi roots.

bataween said...

Very hard to say. There were 140,000 in 1948 - there might be half a million today including their descendants.