Two statements from the IAA

The International Association of Assyriology has put out the following two statements, regarding the conflict and destruction in the Middle East, and regarding the order restricting entry to the United States.

For the full pdf-versions of the statements, including French, German, Arabic, Italian, and Turkish translations, see the IAA website.

Regarding the continuing conflict and destruction in the Middle East (as of December 2016):

“The growth of humanitarian crises in the Middle East continues to be a tragedy for the residents across the region. The IAA is particularly sensitive to this human tragedy since the ancient societies that we study all had their homes in the region, and our members have a long history of working with colleagues and communities there.

Alongside the danger to human life, these conflicts pose a grave threat to the rich tangible and intangible cultural heritage of the Middle East. Damage to this heritage strikes at the identity and valued traditions of the peoples of the region. There is also a long history of the politicization of the surviving sites, monuments, and remains of the ancient communities of the region.

We decry all damage to cultural heritage and efforts by any party to instrumentalize this tragedy politically in order to claim advantages in today’s conflicts. The IAA calls on its members, the international community, and all parties 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 International Association for Assyriology urges the suspension of the order restricting entry to the United States (February 1, 2017):

“The International Association for Assyriology (IAA) was founded with the goal of furthering the study of the rich textual, artistic, and archaeological heritage of the ancient Near East, and especially of ancient Iraq. This goal can only be achieved through the intensive and continuing cooperation of a large body of international researchers. The ability to maintain bilateral relations with colleagues from Near Eastern countries is essential for our work on both ethical
and practical grounds.

The recent Executive Order issued on January 27, 2017, by the President of the United States, that restricts entry of citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen into the country, directly undermines these goals and principles in every respect and must be regarded by our colleagues from the affected countries as a humiliating act. The executive order furthermore has a devastating effect on all future research events hosted by institutions in the US as it brutally severs long grown research affiliations.

The IAA board strongly calls for the immediate suspension of this executive order. We decry the spirit in which it was drafted and we condemn the chilling impact that it will have on both the study of the affected countries and on their people. Until the suspension of the executive order is effected, the IAA must regretfully abstain from organizing any research activities in US territory, as we value the participation of all our members as a matter of principle.”