Saturday, 7 March 2015

ISIL's Cultural Cleansing

For those who need reminding, Allison Jackson, 'What 'cultural cleansing' looks like under the Islamic State', Global Post March 4, 2015
For months, the militant group, also known as ISIS and ISIL, has been using explosives and bulldozers to lay waste to mosques, shrines, churches and artifacts across territories in northern Iraq and Syria that have fallen under its control. And what they don't smash, they sell on the black market to help fund their bloody campaign. Among the many ancient sites destroyed so far are the tomb of the Prophet Jonah in the ancient Assyrian capital of Nineveh, near Mosul, as well as the al-Arbain mosque and the 7th-century Green Church in Tikrit, the hometown of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Also lost is the al-Qubba Husseiniya mosque in Mosul
I think we are all in agreement about the sentiments being expressed
UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova has described the destruction in Iraq as “cultural cleansing” and said the “deliberate attack against the country’s millennial history and culture” must be stopped. “This tragedy is far from just a cultural issue: it’s an issue of major security,” Bokova said. “We see clearly how terrorists use the destruction of heritage in their strategy to destabilize and manipulate populations so that they can assure their own domination.” The massive outcry over the destruction of historical buildings and artifacts may seem misplaced when you consider the thousands of people who have been killed or forced to flee during IS's murderous rampage across the region. But experts point out that these buildings and relics are more than just religious sites or objects.  They are fundamental parts of Iraq's national identity. “What ISIS does by destroying cultural sites is fundamentally to undermine people's hope," Eleanor Robson, chair of the British Institute for the Study of Iraq, told Channel 4 . "It undermines the cohesion that holds communities and societies together. That's why it's so damaging and so hard."

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