Sunday, August 07, 2016

Tourism ministry fought demolition of Heskel House

Update to the update: official confirmation has come of the demolition, which Iraqi intellectuals have greeted with dismay.

What is left of Sasson Heskel's house. This video clip records what the building looked like (from 4:45 minutes).

 Update: Point of No Return has seen conclusive video footage that the house of Sir Sasson Heskel has been demolished after all, contrary to what this Times of Israel article suggests. However, the piece points to an interesting clash between  Iraq's Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, which wanted to preserve the site, while the Baghdad municipality decided to pull the building down.  Too late now. (With thanks: Imre):

The Baghdad municipality announced Friday it would demolish and then give to a developer the 100-year-old home of Iraq’s first finance minister, Sir Sassoon Eskell, while an official in Iraq’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities slammed the decision as a “violation” of the law.
 Sir Sasson Eskell (Heskel), Iraq's well-regarded first finance minister

Eskell, who was born into an aristocratic Baghdadi Jewish family in 1860, was instrumental in founding the Iraqi government’s laws and financial infrastructure.
The municipality of the Iraqi capital said in the press release that Eskell’s home “is not a heritage site according to the book of the heritage department,” the Iraqi site Assabah al-Jadeed reported Saturday.
“The home was constructed 100 years ago on Rashid Street, in central Baghdad, and is presently granted to a citizen to invest in,” the statement continued, stressing that “the investment is done in accordance with the law.”
Sa’id Hamza, head of the investigation department of heritage sites within the ministry, accused the municipality of “violating the law” by giving away Eskell’s home for investment.
“Who in Baghdad’s municipality considered the home to not be a heritage site?” he reportedly wondered, suggesting there may have been corruption.
Hamza added that Eskell’s home is composed of two parts: one that is meant to be handed over to the Finance Ministry, and another that is supposed to be returned to his grandson Albert Sassoon Eskell. (Sasson Eskell never married - 'grand nephew'? - ed)

Read article in full

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That would be remarkable the first asset repatriated to an imaginary person... Sounds like there's someone in Iraq changing their name right now!