Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Iraq: history matters

The diary of Saad Eskander, Director of the Iraq National Library and Archive, makes compelling reading. The details of everyday life are as harrowing as you would expect. The diary also raises important issues about the relationship between sound archival practice and good governance:

There is no awareness whatsoever even among the political class [in Iraq] about the importance of archives to the political and legal systems, and most importantly to the current political process. Since late 2003, I have been trying very hard to raise, what can be termed as "archival awareness" among the politicians, the journalists and the ordinary people through the mass media and direct contact. (Entry for 5 April 2007).

Without adequate preservation of records, there can be no proper accountability.

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