Thieves of Baghdad

Receiving National Humanities Medal in 2005
Image via Wikipedia

The Huntsville Museum of Art sponsored Matthew Bogdanos as the first speaker in the “Voices of our Times” series. Inside the jacket cover of the book, Colonel B0gdanos is described:

“He’s a spit-and-polish Marine, a competitive boxer, a classics scholar, and an assistant DA in Manhattan. New York tabloids call him “pit bull” ….

This became quite clear. The Executive Director, Christopher Madkhour, asked, during his introduction,  to turn off cell phones; no photos and no recordings.

Someone, I don’t know who, violated these instructions. The Colonel or perhaps the assistant DA, stopped speaking, went to the offender, and then stated what happened in spite of the directions having been given. I would not want to cross this young man under any circumstances. The offender was escorted out. I think they were a T.V. type person!

The presentation was intense, passionate, and delivered without notes or lights. The room was dark (except where I was sitting on the back row), therefore the visuals were easy to read and see from any angle; he walked up and down the aisles and talked to the audience as one would address a gathering of friends.

I purchased the book to read but mainly because it states: that all his royalties will be donated to the Iraq Museum.

Once again the jacket cover states: “A mixture of police procedural, treasure hunt, wartime thriller, and cold-eyed assessment of the connection between the antiquities trade and weapons smuggling, Thieves of Baghdad exposes sordid truths about the international art and antiquities market. It also explores the soul of a man, who is equal parts hardened Marine, dedicated father, and passionate scholar. Most of all, it demonstrates that, in a culture as old as that of the Middle East, nothing is ever quite what is seems.”

Colonel Bogdanos closed with this: “The voices on the green; laughing on the hill; everything else is still.” Hauntingly beautiful, a shortened quote of William Blake in Songs of Innocence.

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