Thursday, 29 March 2012

Development, archaeology and living people in Iraq

In 'Seeking to Preserve the Past but Stumbling on the Present' the New York Times discusses conflicts that can arise when one is seeking to preserve remains of the past but this preservation becomes an obstacle to living people. The article shows how deep these conflicts can go, not only in practical but also in ethical terms.   

 "On land where Assyrian kings once reigned, an Iraqi farmer named Araf Khalaf surveyed the scrap of earth that has nurtured three generations of his family. It is little more than a mud hut and a scraggly vegetable patch, yet his land has become a battleground, one pitting efforts to preserve Iraq’s ancient treasures against the nation’s modern-day poor." "My father grew up here," Mr. Khalaf said. "This is our land."

The issues become even more debatable when the context where they occur is Iraq.  It is never easy to find a solution to instances when local people occupy sites of historical importance. If authorities were to move them from the sites, where should they take these people?  How legitimate is it to disturb lives of people to preserve remains of the past?

See more on the NYT

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