Candlelight Vigil for Global Heritage dedicated to Dr. Donny George

3/31/2011 12:37:00 AM
Donny George at the 2008 Candlelight Vigil at the Oriental Institute

At the anniversary of the 2003 looting of the Iraq Museum, we are reminded once again that stolen artifacts are still missing -- and that archaeological sites in Iraq and around the world continue to be plundered.

In 2007, SAFE initiated the Global Candlelight Vigil for the Iraq Museum with Dr. Donny George. Since then, organizations and individuals around the world have answered our call to light a candle around each April 10-12 "so people will not forget what happened."

This year, as we mourn the sudden loss of our friend and colleague, SAFE encourages supporters and members to pay tribute to Dr. Youkhanna and participate in this year's worldwide vigil, now renamed the Donny George Candlelight Vigil for Global Heritage.

"Like" the Vigil Facebook page; use our website to learn how to participate in or host your own vigil; and be sure to send us images and videos of your events. If you need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us at vigil@savingantiquities.org.

A letter from SAFE informing the Assyrian community of the vigil event:

Dear Colleague:

The anniversary of the 2003 looting of the Iraq Museum is once again upon us. At this time, we are again reminded that stolen artifacts are still missing. What’s more, archaeological sites in Iraq and around the world continue to be plundered. The events in Egypt only underscore the fact that not an archaeological site or museum in the world is safe.

In 2007, SAFE initiated the Global Candlelight Vigil for the Iraq Museum with Dr. Donny George Youkhanna. Since then, organizations and individuals around the world have answered Dr. Youkhanna's call to light a candle, “so people will not forget what happened.” This year, as we mourn the loss of our friend and colleague —a powerful advocate against the destruction of the world’s cultural heritage—I call on you, who have participated in a vigil in the past, to consider joining us again in the Vigil which SAFE has now renamed the Donny George Candlelight Vigil for Global Heritage. This pays tribute to Dr. Youkhanna, who will remain inseparable from the Iraq Museum, as a champion for the preservation of Iraq’s—and the world’s—cultural heritage.

On or about April 10-12, we urge museums, universities, cultural organizations and citizens around the world to use the anniversary of the looting of the Iraq Museum as an opportunity to re-energize our efforts to protect the world’s cultural heritage.

There are many ways to participate; a typical vigil is held in conjunction with another existing program/activity, and includes the showing of a video, a candle lighting, and discussion. The SAFE web site offers many suggestions and resources but the most memorable vigil ideas from previous years have come from the hosts themselves. For example, while University of Washington museology students tracked the flow of looted Iraqi antiquities on the global market, grade school students in Canada wrote poetry to express what the loss of cultural heritage meant to them. Others simply added their name to a list of supporters and lighted a virtual candle. Organizations and individuals from the US, Canada, Lebanon, Sweden, South Africa and Holland, organized gatherings of all sizes and used the opportunity to raise public awareness about the academic, ethical and legal consequences of the destruction of our shared cultural heritage. Please watch the video memoria marking the 5th anniversary of the looting of the Iraq Museum.

This year, consider joining us once again in remembrance and take the opportunity to pay tribute to Donny George. Use our web site to announce your vigil, and please send us your images and videos of your vigils to so we can gather and present them together. If you need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us at vigil@savingantiquities.org.

Sincerely,

Rebecca Rushfield
vigil@savingantiquities.org
718-575-2702