March 02, 2008
Last Saturday, March 1, I was lucky enough to finally meet Dr. Donny George, former head of the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, in person. As I expected, he was warm and generous of spirit. Incredibly enough, even though we've known each other ever since the Iraq War started in 2003, it has always been through email. Still, I felt like I knew him, shared something deep down with him in our mutual love for Iraq's heritage. It was an enormous relief when Donny and his wife and 3 kids fled Iraq because I no longer had to be worried sick about their safety. From what he told me they are doing very well in Stony Brook. He was here in California for only one day, at the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga as part of the months-long IRAQ:REFRAME series of events and exhibits. He participated in a lecture/talk together with Matthew Bogdanos. I applaud Montalvo for their efforts to highlight the arts of Iraq, modern as well as ancient, going against the current mainstream which is turning its attention away more and more of the "inconvenient" quagmire that is the Land Between the Rivers.
P.S.: I now work as a program developer for the Alexandria Archive Institute here in San Francisco (part time). Our main project is Open Context: a free, open access resource for the electronic publication of primary field research from archaeology and related disciplines. Open Context provides an integrated framework for users to search, explore, analyze, compare and tag items from diverse field projects and collections.