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"So Yesterday Was the Burning of Books" — Wartime in Iraq Lecture Held at Responsible Stewardship Towards Cultural Heritage Materials, Preconference of the IFLA Rare Book and Manuscript Section, Copenhagen,The Royal Library, 11 August 2005

"From July 2004 till March 2005 I was working for IRMO, the Iraq Reconstruction Management Office, as the senior consultant for the Iraqi Ministry of Culture. I was send by the Dutch Army as a CIMIC-officer, a NATO unit that stands for Civil Military Cooperation, and I was deployed at the IRMO-office of the US Embassy in Baghdad. IRMO played an important role in the formation of the IIG, Iraqi Interim Government2, under the CPA, Coalition Provisional Authority3, and continued to do so when the US Embassy took over from the CPA in June 2004. For every ministry a senior consultant was appointed at IRMO, some of them had a staff of 30 or more. My office was supported with a local and very dedicated secretary and for some time an Italian archeological technician. Later a military liaison officer was appointed to my office, a person who smoothed many military paths for me. The senior consultant acted as the main liaison officer for the Iraqi Minister of Culture and advised him and the US Embassy on all issues concerning cultural heritage. After seven months the Dutch contribution to the Multi-National Forces Iraq was over upon which IRMO unfortunately decided to close down their office of culture. Since my return, I kept in close contact with those responsible for the reconstruction of the cultural heritage in Iraq partly through the Unesco-ICC, International Coordination Committee for the Safeguarding of the Cultural Heritage of Iraq 4, the Sub-committee on Libraries and Archives5 as well as the Sub-committee on Babylon. Most probably I will return to Iraq by the end of this year especially to continue my work in support of the Iraqi libraries and archives. This paper will mainly touch on the present and past problems within the Iraqi library system."

Author(s):  Teijgeler, René
Format:  Article
Publisher:  The Iraq War & Archaeology
Series:  IW&A Documents, 5