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BRITARCH  August 2006

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Subject:

Re: Damage to cultural assets in Lebanon

From:

Lex Lamb <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Fri, 4 Aug 2006 15:28:59 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (204 lines)

I'm choking back a king-size and certainly-not-of-archaeological-relevance
rant here, so will restrict myself to this point:

I do not believe (from what I've heard) that deliberate targeting of
antiquities has become a significant part of this conflict so far - though
the depressing message of Bevan's book would seem to hint that this might
well happen further down the line, especially in a situation where the
belligerents are so acutely aware of their own histories yet fail so
miserably to overcome the attendant bitternesses.

Therefore, I'd imagine that any damage to sites in Lebanon or the State of
Israel will primarily be a side-effect of military action rather than a
strategic objective in itself.

Therefore, surely the greater scale of military activity means the greater
risk of damage to the archaeology. (We've seen what's happening in Babylon
simply through day-to-day army opeartions.)

Although Hezbollah appear to be suprisingly heavily-armed, their attacks
have resulted in roughly a tenth of the casualties caused by the huge
Israeli operation.

This is not a militarily equal conflict. This is not a conflict between
forces equally likely to destroy ancient sites - no more than it is a
conflict between forces equally equipped and able to bring death and tragedy
to the innocent and harmless.

For the record, I don't conflate the activities of the State of Israel with
the Jewish people, in the same way that I don't conflate the activities of
Tony Blair with my next-door neigbours.




-----Original Message-----
From: British archaeology discussion list
[mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of colin.pca
Sent: 04 August 2006 09:42
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [BRITARCH] Damage to cultural assets in Lebanon


I take a slightly different view of this.

RESCUE may claim to be apolitical, but this text is clearly biased and full
of negative anti-Israeli value judgements.

Perhaps RESCUE should consider writing to the numerous terrorists within the
region asking them to stop using cultural sites as cover or marshalling
yards for attacks on civil populations.

Better still, perhaps the committee should go on a fact finding visit -I'd
be very interested to read of their reception.

Simon Johnson

-----Original Message-----
From: British archaeology discussion list
[mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Andrew Smith
Sent: 03 August 2006 12:15
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [BRITARCH] Damage to cultural assets in Lebanon


Good for RESCUE - well done.
Andrew.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Christopher Cumberpatch" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, August 03, 2006 10:46 AM
Subject: [BRITARCH] Damage to cultural assets in Lebanon


    Here is the text of a letter from RESCUE - The British Archaeological
Trust, to Tessa Jowell regarding the threats to archaeological sites,
standing buildings and other cultural assets in Lebanon.  As an apolitical
organisation, RESCUE does not take sides in this, or any other, conflict but
the continued attacks on World Heritage Sites and other sites of historical
and archaeological significance requires a response.

Chris Cumberpatch BA PhD
Secretary
RESCUE - The British Archaeological Trust


RESCUE  The British Archaeological Trust

15A Bull Plain

Hertford

SG14 1DX



Tel. (01992) 553377

E-Mail: [log in to unmask]

Website: www.rescue-archaeology.freeserve.co.uk





Rt Hon. Tessa Jowell MP
3rd August 2006

Department of Culture Media and Sport

2  4 Cockspur Street

London

SW1Y 5DH



Re: Protection of cultural assets in Lebanon



Dear Ms Jowell,

            I am writing to you to draw attention to the threat posed by
Israeli military action in Lebanon to the cultural heritage of that country.
While attention is quite rightly focussed on the appalling human cost of the
Israeli assault there are also issues to be considered in relation to
archaeological sites and monuments in Lebanon.  Both Baalbek and Tyre, the
targets of recent Israeli attacks, have been recognised by the United
Nations as of international cultural significance through the award of World
Heritage Site status, as has one of the two castles in Sidon.  In the case
of both Baalbek and Tyre, the area designated is much larger than the
existing towns and encompasses far more than the standing buildings.  Any
military action in the vicinity of these towns will inevitably have a
destructive impact on archaeological and cultural assets.  Beyond the areas
recognised as of World Heritage status, Lebanon has a rich architectural and
archaeological heritage resulting from its important geographical position
in the eastern Mediterranean.

            The Israeli government has demonstrated its cavalier disregard
for the importance of this heritage many times in the past with sites in
Lebanon (notably Beaufort Castle) being destroyed or damaged through
military action and deliberate demolition.  The profound Israeli
understanding of the political importance of destroying cultural monuments
and other assets has been abundantly demonstrated by their actions in Gaza
and the West Bank (as documented by Robert Bevan in his recent book The
destruction of memory; architecture at war).  We believe that this is an
additional reason for the British Government to demand an immediate
cease-fire by all parties in Lebanon and for the protection of cultural
assets to be included as part of the remit of any United Nations or other
force committed to the region to ensure compliance with the terms of such a
cease-fire.

            Britain has an important role to play in the establishment of
peace in the Middle East and given our long term and continuing involvement
in archaeological research in the region, it is entirely appropriate that we
should draw attention to this aspect of the ongoing conflict and its place
in any potential resolution of that conflict.  We look to you to issue a
clear statement on this matter and to ensure that it is raised in
discussions within the British government and between governments
internationally, most appropriately perhaps in the context of the 1954
Geneva Convention on the protection of cultural property in the event of
armed conflict.



Yours sincerely



Roy Friendship-Taylor  M. Phil., MAAIS., AIFA

Chairman

RESCUE  The British Archaeological Trust

[log in to unmask]



Chris Cumberpatch BA PhD

Secretary

RESCUE  The British Archaeological Trust

[log in to unmask]



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