Looted Museum Reopens

If the looting of the Iraq National Museum became a symbol, in 2003, of post-invasion Iraq's anarchic disarray, then its reopening on Monday is also a symbol, but this time the meaning is less clear. Prime Minister Nouri Kamal al-Maliki pushed to reopen the museum as a symbol of Iraq's burgeoning independence and reclaimed identity; however, al-Maliki's Culture Ministry argued against reopening the museum and leaving the remaining art and artifacts vulnerable. With over half its exhibition halls closed, the famed museum hosted a high-profile group of diplomats and politicians at its reopening. Police blocked streets for miles around and helicopters circled overhead while Sumerian cuneiform tablets and artifacts from Assyrian royalty took center stage. The museum still needs heating and cooling systems, new security systems, and training for its new staff.