Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Friday, October 31, 2003

A sad but beautiful story from the Chicago Tribune’s foreign correspondent Paul Salopek offers another perspective on the cultural and artistic rape of Iraq through the eyes of Dame Agatha Christie:

She first visited as a tourist in 1928. She met her future husband, the distinguished archeologist Max Mallowan, while exploring the ancient city of Ur. And over the next three decades, the couple returned again and again…There were Model-T journeys across Iraq's harsh deserts…And there were steam train stops at exotic outposts of the waning British Empire: Basra, Baghdad and Mosul.
"I fell in love with Ur, with its beauty in the evenings," she wrote in her autobiography, "the ziggurat standing up, faintly shadowed, and that wide area of sand with its lovely pale colors of apricot, rose, blue and mauve changing every minute."
She last traveled to the ancient, sun-scorched nation in the 1950s…She died, very old and highly honored as a Dame of the British Empire, in 1976, three years before Saddam Hussein rose to power.
Little of the Iraq she knew is left.

Photo: Harvard Theatre Collection
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