Looted Iraq Museum Partially Reopens

PM backs controversial move; much of building still shut
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 24, 2009 12:50 PM CST
Iraqis visit the restored Iraqi National Museum on the day it was formally dedicated.   (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
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(Newser) – Iraq’s National Museum reopened yesterday for the first time since its 2003 looting made it a symbol of post-invasion bedlam, the New York Times reports. But with only eight of 26 rooms functional, its reopening symbolizes as much the long road ahead as it does Iraqi reconstruction thus far, Steven Lee Myers writes. Years after thousands of items were stolen, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki pushed for the controversial reopening.

“It was a rugged wave and strong black wind that passed over Iraq, and one of the results was the destruction that hit this cultural icon,” Maliki said at a ceremony marking the moment. “We have stopped this black wind.” But not all were happy about the move. “It is a risk to open the museum at this time,” said a Culture Ministry official; colleagues boycotted the event.