Destruction of beloved Baghdad statue emblematic
The bronze bust of Jaafar al Mansour, who founded Baghdad in the eighth century, stood in the center of a traffic circle in northwestern Baghdad and was used by nearly everyone as a reference point: 'near the statue,' 'a kilometer past the statue.' It was a symbol of the city, without politics or sectarianism, until Oct. 19, when terrorists reduced it to rubble with a roadside bomb.
It's especially troubling to residents, ... because it celebrated Baghdad's storied past, not its recent troubles. 'They are destroying Iraqi civilization,' said Ahmed Mustafa, 36, who owns a supermarket near the statue. Why it was destroyed is a mystery.
Several Iraqi newspapers compared the act to the Taliban's destruction of graven images, including Buddhas, in Afghanistan. Others note that any artwork, even one by famous Iraqi sculptor Khaled al Rahal, done during Saddam's reign is a target for Shiite extremists. Some suggest an Iranian hand in the attack. Mustafa blamed 'outsiders.' Nori Abbas, 20, who works near the statue, said he thinks it was destroyed because some believed it symbolized the old Iraq. He bemoaned what he saw as an assault on the heritage of an ancient city. 'Everywhere you go in town, statues are removed or destroyed by explosions,'
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