2011 Candlelight Vigil

Sunday April 10, 2011 – Tuesday April 12, 2011
Worldwide

At the eight anniversary of the 2003 looting of the Iraq Museum, we are again reminded that stolen artifacts are still missing. What’s more, archaeological sites in Iraq and around the world continue to be plundered. The events in Egypt only underscore the fact that not an archaeological site or museum in the world is safe. Although, efforts to safeguard Iraq’s past continues.

In 2007, SAFE initiated the Global Candlelight Vigil for the Iraq Museum with Dr. Donny George Youkhanna. Since then, organizations and individuals around the world have answered Dr. Youkhanna’s call to light a candle, “so people will not forget what happened.”  This year, as we mourn the loss of our friend and colleague—a powerful advocate against the destruction of the world’s cultural heritage—we call on you to consider joining us in the Vigil which SAFE has now renamed the Donny George Candlelight Vigil for Global Heritage. This pays tribute to Dr. Youkhanna, who will remain inseparable from the Iraq Museum, as a champion for the preservation of Iraq’s—and the world’s—cultural heritage.

On or about April 10-12, we urge museums, universities, cultural organizations and citizens around the world to use the anniversary of the looting of the Iraq Museum as an opportunity to re-energize our efforts to protect the world’s cultural heritage.

There are many ways to participate. A typical vigil is held in conjunction with another existing program/activity, and includes the showing of a video, a candle lighting, and discussion. The SAFE web site offers many suggestions and resources but the most memorable vigil ideas from previous years have come from the hosts themselves. For example, while University of Washington museology students tracked the flow of looted Iraqi antiquities on the global market, grade school students in Canada wrote poetry to express what the loss of cultural heritage meant to them. Others simply added their name to a list of supporters and lighted a virtual candle. Organizations and individuals from the US, Canada, Lebanon, Sweden, South Africa and Holland, organized gatherings of all sizes and used the opportunity to raise public awareness about the academic, ethical and legal consequences of the destruction of our shared cultural heritage. Please watch the video memorial marking the 5th anniversary of the looting of the Iraq Museum.

This year, we urge you to join us in remembrance and take the opportunity to pay tribute to Dr. Youkhanna. Use our web site to announce your vigil, and please send us images and videos of your vigils to so we can gather and present them together. If you need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Rebecca Rushfield at vigil@savingantiquities.org.

“We would have it for the last time in Baghdad on the opening day of the Iraq Museum, and then we will stop...the candlelight vigils and we will go visit the Iraq Museum.”

Dr. Donny George Youkhanna, April 10, 2008