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I'm often happier not reading the news. Today, it was going through the aggregator that provided the news I'm sorry to have read, not because I didn't want to know about, but because I didn't want it to have happened: the complete looting of the National Museum of Iraq.

Burning bird, Making Light, the Digital Medievalist, Long Story; short pier, and Kuomori have all posted on it, with thoughtfulness and feeling.

I wandered across this note just now, about the life of Gertrude Bell: "In helping create the National Museum of Iraq, she promoted the idea that excavated antiquities should stay in their country of origin." It was a good idea. I wonder how many of those antiquities will still be there in another week or month.

Update: Cronaca constructively points out that one of the biggest losses from the museum was loss of its records.