Following the 2003 events that provided the impetus for the founding of SAFE, we advocated for The Iraq Cultural Heritage Protection Act, H.R. 2009 and the revised H.R. 3497.
This legislation would provide for the recovery, restitution, and protection of Iraqi cultural antiquities by prohibiting the importation into the United States of any archaeological or cultural material removed from Iraq without appropriate documentation.
Due to the lack of legitimate government in Iraq following the 2003 US invasion, this legislation was urgently needed to close the loophole in the existing law against the importation into the United States of any archaeological or cultural material from Iraq.
The proposed legislation would will not only cut off the flow of looted antiquities into the U.S., it would also aid the return of these materials by authorizing their seizure and forfeiture. Furthermore, it would give the President of the United States the ability to respond quickly to other emergency situations in the future.
WHAT DID SAFE DO?
In Fall of 2003, we created a poster that can be downloaded and circulated to raise awareness and support for this bill. We urged visitors to our site to print out and distribute the poster wherever they can. On September 29, 2003, students from across the country joined SAFE in a “Poster Hanging Day” campaign. Professors, department heads, and students posted copies of SAFE’s H.R. 2009 poster in hallways, bookstores, cafeterias, bulletin boards, and wherever the public could see them. At the same time, postcards were also distributed to art galleries, bookstores and at college campuses across the United States.
In November, 2003, a slightly revised version of H.R. 2009 was introduced: H.R. 3497. In response to this, SAFE revised the poster and also created a brochure that rallied support for this revised legislation. It was designed so that anyone could easily mail in his or her support of H.R. 3497 by using the postcard attached. On February 20, 2004, 500 brochures were distributed at the College Art Association’s Special Advocacy Session: Cultural Heritage in Time of War in Seattle, Washington.
On March 4, 2004, the Senate passed legislation (S. 671) that gives the President the authority to impose restrictions to prevent the import into the United States of cultural materials that have been illegally removed from Iraq since August 1990. This is effective to this day.
We thank the following faculties and students for participating in Poster Hanging Day
- University of Alabama – Birmingham
- Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
- California State University at Sacramento
- University of California – Los Angeles
- University of California – San Diego
- University of Chicago
- Columbia University
- Fashion Institute of Technology
- Fordham University
- Harvard University
- University of Michigan
- New York University
- Northwestern University
- Philadelphia University
- Princeton University
- Queens College
- St. John’s University
- St. Peter’s College
- Seton Hall University
- University of Southern California
- Stanford University
- The State University of New York at Buffalo
- Stevens University
- Yuzuncu Yil Universitesi