At Baghdad’s Bomb Sites, Chaos, and a Cellist Playing Music

After the bombs hit, Karim Wasfi comes by to play music amongst the pain.

Karim Wasfi is an accomplished cellist and conductor of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra. While the artist normally performs in established halls and centers, he’s recently been showing up to slightly more non-traditional venues: bomb sites. For the past few weeks, Wasfi has traveled to explosion sites in Baghdad with his black suit and his cello. Amidst all the terrible trauma, he comes to play music.

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Digitally Reconstructing the Mosul Museum Destroyed by ISIS Fighters

A team in Cyprus is crowdsourcing data on the lost items to build 3D models of the ruined artifacts.

A 3D reconstruction of The Lion of Mosul.

Researchers from the Cyprus University of Technology are hoping they can digitally reconstruct Iraq’s Mosul Museum, which was ransacked by fighters for Da’esh (more commonly known as ISIS). Spearheaded by volunteers from the Initial Training Network for Digital Cultural Heritage, Project Mosul will crowdsource photos, images, and data for the artifacts and objects that were destroyed and process it all to create three-dimensional models of what was lost.

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Tour a Virtual Museum Housing Art Stolen or Destroyed by Conflict

Designer, grad student, and VR specialist Ziv Schneider has created a digital home for works both destroyed by war and stolen through famous heists.

As was made abundantly clear by recent video footage of the destruction of the Mosul Museum’s priceless artifact collection, ISIS’s mission of terror extends to the Middle East’s cultural legacy as well. Pulverizing centuries old treasures down to dust, this systematic annihilation has robbed future generations of both their heritage, and a chance to experience its greatest creations. As UNESCO and culturally invaluable sites across the world succumb to religious fanatics, from the Sufi saints statues of Mali to the (now bulldozed) 13th century city of Nimrud, preserving the memory of these lost, stolen, or destroyed works becomes all the more important. The Museum of Stolen Art, created by Ziv Schneider, a grad student at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, seeks to archive some of these lost works via a virtual museum exclusively dedicated to pieces currently MIA. Two of the first scheduled exhibits include works lost in the looting of Afghanistan and Iraq, which resonate strongly with Schneider, having grown up in nearby Israel. “What happened in Iraq—it was political instability that led to it,” Schneider recently explained to the Daily Dot “and a lot of the items were looted by Iraqis during the invasion [of 2003] because circumstances allowed for it. The condition of the archaeological items really deteriorated after Saddam Hussein lost power.” In Iraq these pieces were lost for good, while some in Afghanistan wound up back home. “A lot of it was looted by soldiers, and a lot of the items were returned. People were really surprised to see these pieces. They don’t relate them to Afghanistan. There’s a lot of intersection of cultures there, a lot of important historical pieces.”

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Don’t Go Back to Iraq

An Iraq War veteran and Marine urges U.S. politicians to avoid the slippery slope of military escalation in fighting ISIL.

Seth Moulton in Najaf, Iraq, during his second deployment as a U.S. Marine

We cannot go back to Iraq. But that is exactly where we are headed.

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After decades, Iraq will finally soon have a new public library. It's part of a bigger "Youth City" plan for part of Baghdad, intended to inspire the younger generation. Developer Ali Mousawi explains his motivation:

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Donald Trump Accidentally Admits He'd Commit War Crimes as President

The GOP front-runner said he'd like to pillage all of Iraq's oil for America. Unfortunately for him, that's illegal.


The long dead (but dearly missed) Spy magazine had a famous unwritten policy of referring to Donald Trump as a "short-fingered vulgarian" whenever they mentioned the controversial real estate mogul. Who knew they should have also called him a greedy, looting pirate as well?

In a wildly underreported interview with ABC's George Stephonopoulos, Trump, who has yet to say if he's actually going to run for president on the Republican ticket, outright told Stephonopoulos that he'd steal Iraq's oil if he were in charge:

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