The Guardian April 2, 2003


Protest on Baghdad war damage

by Joan Williams

The AGM of the Australian Society for the study of Labour History (SSLH) 
(WA Branch) unanimously passed a resolution protesting to Prime Minister 
Howard on Australian participation in the destruction of historical and 
archaeological features of the city of Baghdad in the present war.

History is nearly always written by the victors  the culture of the 
defeated and its artefacts destroyed the language lost, the mover of the 
resolution said.

Iraq was the cradle of writing with a system of symbols 6000 years ago, 
shared with Egypt, Crete and Balkan countries.

The treasures held in Baghdad endangered by the present war include clay 
tablets for writing, dated 2300 BC.

The State Museum of Baghdad had ancient records, laws, science and 
historical texts and archaeological finds valuable to the whole world.

In 1938, a German archaeologist, Dr Wilhelm Konig, employed by the State 
Museum of Baghdad, found 2000-year-old pots excavated in a village south 
east of the city  a find that drastically altered all concepts of ancient 
science.

The configuration of copper, iron and acid and other features made plain 
they were ancient electric cells.

The mover asked: Are such treasures to be lost in the recent war in which 
Australia plays a part? Many of history's missing pages were torn out in 
calamitous invasions over the centuries.

The President's and other reports showed the big projects for the history 
of labouring people, such as the preservation of the Midland Railway 
Workshop, together with the community, had been a great success.

* * *
Annette and Duncan Cameron and Vic and Joan Williams were given Honorary life membership for their work in the foundation of the SSLH (WA).

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