When Jabbar Jaafar watched video of ISIS members with sledge-hammers smashing artifacts as old as antiquity, the Iraqi-born cultural activist was outraged over a loss he described as immeasurable.
Jaafar’s anger at the destruction of Iraqi artifacts, relics and statues by terrorists prompted him and his colleague, Iraqi archeologist Abdulamir Al Hamdani at Stonybrook University, to protest outside the White House Tuesday with 100 other cultural activists. Jaafar and Al Hamdani work with the group Saving Antiquities for Everyone, or SAFE, an organization founded in 2003 in response to the looting of the Iraq Museum during which thousands of objects were taken — some 3,000 to 7,000 are still missing.
“I couldn’t sleep that night,” Jaafar said, after watching the videotaped destruction by ISIS of artifacts in Mosul last month. “These objects are as old as civilization.”