Sunday, October 23, 2011

Libyan heritage update

UNESCO convenes Libyan and international experts meeting for the safeguard of Libya’s cultural heritage
World Heritage Convention

I haven't seen any update about the outcome of this meeting, which took place two days ago, but something should be released in the next couple of weeks.

UNESCO has invited experts from both inside and outside of Libya to urgently examine the preservation of cultural heritage in the country, notably measures to safeguard cultural sites; prevent illicit trafficking, protect museums and strengthen cultural institutions in the wake of civil strife and the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime. The meeting - the first on protecting Libyan cultural heritage after the fall of the regime - will take place at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 21 October.

A press conference will be held during the meeting (1 p.m. Room VIII).

Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO, will open the session, during which experts will discuss the findings of the mission to Libya organized in late September by the Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield. The Blue Shield is the distinctive emblem created by the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, (The Hague, 1954).*

Participants scheduled to attend the meeting include: Saleh Al Agab Abdallah, Chairman of the Department of Antiquities (Libya); Hafed Walda, King's College Classics department, London, archaeological mission, Leptis Magna; and Ahmad Bouzaian, of the University of Garyunis, Benghazi (Libya).

In Tripoli's museum of antiquity only Gaddafi is lost in revolution
The Guardian, UK (David Smith)

Gaddafi opened the Jamahiriya Museum in Tripoli 23 years ago on Sunday. And he made sure visitors were left in no doubt that the flowering of Roman, Byzantine and Islamic cultures were mere historical footnotes to his own ascent as "king of kings".

Brushing aside curators' preference for classical antiquity, Libya's leader gave pride of place in the first gallery to the Volkswagen Beetle he drove in the sixties and the open-top Jeep that swept him to power in 1969. Both have been vandalised and their future is uncertain in a post-Gaddafi Libya, where his ubiquitous image has been furiously purged from everything but banknotes.

At 11.30pm on 20 August 2011, as rebels launched their first attack on the Libyan capital, 20 armed men entered the museum, located in the Red Castle, at the corner of former Green Square.

They believed that the lecture theatre there had a secret underground tunnel leading to one of Gaddafi's residences on the Mediterranean coast.

That was untrue, but the rebels spotted the colonel's vintage cars and, as elsewhere, wreaked their revenge.

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