The Cultural and Historical Destruction of Iraq: Implications for Social Cohesion and Democracy
With the invasion of Iraq by the US in 2003 came the deliberate destruction and blatant negligence of the occupying forces, having immediate ramifications for the nation's rich cultural and historical landscape. In addition, Iraqi civilians targeted the cultural history of their nation with wanton looting and arson, as well as systematic attacks on sites of archaeological or ethnoreligious significance. More recently, the Shia and Kurdish dominated Iraqi Government have organised the "Committee for Removing Symbols of the Saddam Era" and plan to purge the state of its Sunni dominated past. This paper argues that the destruction of Iraq's cultural history has played a part in eroding the national identity that many of these symbols and institutions were designed to promulgate. In turn, this has contributed to the rise of ethno/religious sectarianism in Iraq and has particular implications for the nation's fledgling democratic order.
Centre for Public Culture and Ideas Research Colloquium
Asian Cultural Studies