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Iraqi Foundation Preserves Country's Recent Past

Amid the looting and chaos that followed the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime three years ago, returned Iraqi exiles and other Iraqis gathered enormous troves of Baath party files -- more than 11 million documents in all. Many of the papers outline elaborate methods of repression that dominated every aspect of Iraqi life for 35 years.

The Iraq Memory Foundation, created by these exiles and others after Saddam's ouster, aims to preserve and analyze Iraqi Baath party records. It hopes that Iraqis can understand the mistakes of the past, and never repeat them.

The foundation, with offices in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone, is scraping by, using money from the U.S. government. It works not only to preserve Baath documents but also to collect oral histories from people across the country and of different ethnic groups. It has provided documents for Saddam's trial.

The group also is gathering art and artifacts that foundation workers hope one day may be housed in a museum.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Anne Garrels

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