This short documentary started off as a graduate school project. I took a journalism class last semester where we were asked to pick a subject dealing with the current conflicts in the Middle East.
I played around with some ideas and while on line just stumbled onto the story of the looting of the Iraqi National Museum. I had remembered it, but it was a vague memory devoid of any real details.
As I started to consider this event as a project, I realized how little I knew.
Like many international events, we were keyed into it at the time, but as the weeks went by others things happened, and we moved on to the next big thing. After some research I found out the former director of the Iraqi National Museum now lives in New York. Dr. Donny George, who teaches at Suny Stony Brook in the Asian studies department, returned my call the next day. In the middle of a snow storm I took the LIRR out to the Island to interview him.
When I got there Dr. George was nowhere to be seen. I found someone who got him on the phone and after talking with him found out he thought we were meeting the next day. He said I could wait, but it would be a few hours.
The Asian studies department invited me to their Christmas party down the hall and later in the day, Dr. George arrived. I set up in his office and recorded a genuine, dynamic interview about the looting of the Iraqi National Museum. I also learned why he had to leave the country, his home, and his career. While it was a valuable, educational experience for me, I feel like I only scratched the surface of this complex, historical, and still misunderstood event. It was well worth the wait on that blistery December evening to document his words and experiences.
Thanks to Dr. George for giving me the opportunity to shed some light on an important chapter of the war in Iraq.
Stuart Draper is a ScribeMedia intern and an all-around-politically-minded fellow.