Saturday, 10 December 2005

Susanne Osthoff: cultural organisations' release appeal

This is an appeal from cultural organisations for the release of Susanne Osthoff, an archaeologist and humanitarian aid worker, who was kidnapped by insurgents in Iraq:
Eleven archaeology and cultural-heritage non-governmental organizations from around the world appeal for the release of archaeologist Susanne Osthoff and her escort in Iraq.

For immediate release.

New York, December 4, 2005

Press contacts:
Roger Atwood: (202) 518 8630, <>
Micah Garen: (646) 526 4361, <>


We, the undersigned cultural organizations, are deeply concerned about the safety of Susanne Osthoff and her escort, and we appeal for Susanne's swift release so that she may be reunited with her family.

An archaeologist and humanitarian aid worker, Susanne has worked tirelessly for many years to aid the Iraqi people and to preserve the cultural treasures of Iraq for all Iraqis. She is truly a friend to all the people of Iraq.

We appeal to those holding Susanne for her safe release, and for the safe release of her escort, and trust that you will return them to their families who love them.

World Archaeological Congress, Claire Smith, President

Society for American Archaeology, Kenneth M. Ames, President

Archaeological Institute of America

Archaeologists for Human Rights, Sinje Caren Stoyke, Chairwoman

Register of Professional Archaeologists, Charles M. Niquette, President

Lawyers' Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation

Global Heritage Fund, Jeff Morgan, President

Society for Historical Archaeology, Dr. Judy Bense, President

Saving Antiquities for Everyone - SAFE, Cindy Ho, President

ICON - World Monuments Fund, Angela Schuster, Editor-in-Chief

American Academic Research Institute in Iraq, McGuire Gibson, President.
There has been cause for some optimism in German Susanne Osthoff's case, because, as I found through Francis Deblauwe's comprehensive archive on the Iraq War and Archaeology, in Deutsche Welle on the 8th of December 2005, Mark Caldwell reported that Iraq had met Osthoff's kidnappers' demands by ending the police training programme that the German government helped with.

Caldwell stated that, "Iraqi Interior Minister Bayan Baqer Sulagh has criticized the training of Iraqi police recruits by German experts in the United Arab Emirates and said they would no longer participate in the program".

Mark Caldwell then relayed speculation that, "if Iraq were to pull out of the German training scheme, the kidnappers' demands would be met without Germany being seen as capitulating in the face of a terrorist threat".

Joy-Ann Reid has reviewed some commentary on the kidnap of four anti-war activists, including the Briton Norman Kember, revealing that, for some people, there is actually some question as to "whether the group's assumed 'anti-Americanness' now means they should be left to their fate with the terrorists".

Sadly, that makes it necessary to say that, obviously, I agree with the cultural organisations' appeal for Susanne Osthoff's release and hope that the kidnappers release her and those four; I wish the hostages and their families and friends well.

There is now a blog for Susanne Osthoff by concerned friends.

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