Gathering in Washington, D.C., to Protest the Destruction of Cultural Heritage in Iraq

On March 10, 2015, cultural activist Jabbar Jaafar and archaeologist Abdulameer al-Hamdani kicked off the first event of their campaign in response to an ISIS video that showed members of the terrorist group smashing irreplaceable artifacts, relics, and statues at the Mosul Museum. The March 10 event was a public gathering in front of the White House. Although it took place on a rainy day, a number of American and Iraqi activists and supporters attended the noon gathering to express their solidarity with the co-organizers.

The logo of the campaign for protecting Iraq’s heritage. The logo shows that the terrorist groups of ISIS have destroyed the ancient Mesopotamian antiquities. The winged-bull in the poster is a symbol of power in the Assyrian civilization. (Image credit: Ayad al-Hiti, 2015)

The objectives for the gathering were: (1) to urge and pressure the policy and decision makers in order to take immediate action against the terrorist group ISIS; (2) to familiarize a general audience in the United States with the savage and uncivilized acts that ISIS has performed against the people of Iraq and their heritage; (3) to inform the international community that Iraqis are civilized people who love their heritage and are determined to exert every effort to preserve their civilizations; and (4) to state that what is rumored by ISIS, that the statutes and relics of the ancient civilizations are forbidden by Islam, is absolutely untrue according to senior moderate Islam clerics.

People gathering in front of the White house holding posters that indicate that Iraq’s heritage is facing a new wave of destruction, and that the international community should act to stop the destruction and to support Iraqis to protect humankind’s heritage. (Photo Credit: Mustafa Al Shwaili, 2015)

Abdulameer al-Hamdani holds a poster that says “Stop ISIS… Stop Terrorism… Save Mesopotamian Civilization.” (Photo credit: Marie-Helene Carleton, Four Corners Media, 2015)

Jabbar Jaafar holds a poster in front of the White House. (Photo Credit: Marie-Helene Carleton, Four Corners Media, 2015)