The Winter 2017 Issue

Welcome to the latest issue of Mar Shiprim! As you can see, with this new issue comes also a totally new look for the website. We hope you like our new and more minimalist theme! The site is still new, so please let us know if you find any problems or links that are no longer working.

Our first piece this month are two statements from the IAA. The first regards the continuing crisis in the Middle East, and the IAA calls on its members and all parties involved to ‘respect the right to life of all citizens and to work to prevent, minimize and repair damage to the heritage of the region’. The second concerns the order restricting entry to the United States. The IAA Board ‘strongly calls for the immediate suspension of this executive order’, and ‘condemn the chilling impact that it will have on both the study of the affected countries and on their people.’

The spotlight falls on Chuo University, where Fumi Karahashi and her student Naomi Aiba tell us about their work and daily life in Tokyo, as well as the challenges facing the Humanities in Japan. ‘In Popular Culture’ features Sabina Franke, who organized a workshop on communicating knowledge about Assyriology to a wider audience.

Continue reading The Winter 2017 Issue

The opening of the Basrah Museum

In September 2016 a major new museum opened in Basrah, in no less a venue than Saddam Hussein’s old Lakeside Palace complex. This moment was the culmination of ten years of hard work. Qahtan al-Abeed, Director of the new Basrah Museum, tells its story from his initial dream, through the difficult journey of finding a building and developing the plan, through to its successful opening, and his ambitions for its future.

By Qahtan al-Abeed

The idea started when I came to Basrah in 2005, the year I got my first job as an employee at the Basrah Antiquities Department. I had spent the previous years in northern Iraq, but I’m originally from Basrah.

When I started, the department was working out of a digging house 15 km south of Basrah, in Al-Zubair, and there was no proper building. I asked them, what about the museum? But they replied that there was no museum: the old one had been looted in 1991, during the first Gulf war, and the building that had been used since as the antiquities office had been lost in the war of 2003. So on my first day, I was really sad: This was Basrah, with its great history, but without any museum at all for 15 years! I began to dream that I could take the opportunity to fix everything.

Continue reading The opening of the Basrah Museum