Saturday, 4 April 2015

Destruction of Reconstructed Statuary and Architectural Elements at Hatra

Featured in ISIL-released film
A month ago,it was being reported that Iraqi government was saying that it had received reports that the World Heritage Site of Hatra had been "bulldozed" . Donna Yates listed some of the headlines:
'Isis militants destroy remains of Hatra in northern Iraq' (Guardian)
'Iraq says Islamic State militants raze ancient Hatra city' (Reuters)
'Islamic State ‘demolishes’ ancient Hatra site in Iraq (BBC)
'ISIS militants destroy ancient Iraqi city of Hatra, Iraq government says (Haaretz)
'‘Islamic State’ ‘destroying’ ancient city of Hatra in Iraq' (DW)
'Hatra ‘demolished’ by terrorist group' ( The Art Newspaper)
There was lots more here. Now, on Easter Saturday, a short film of vandalism at Hatra was released by 'Mandate of the Tigris' called "Smashing idols" with the catchy soundtrack of the nasheed "Ummaty Qad Laha Fajrun", people yelling and muted machine gun bursts. Most of it is a gentleman reading  a prepared text  to the camera rather flatly from a screen prompter. We also see some men using handtools to break up some statues - they do not seem particularly practiced in their use. The man tottering at the top of an unstable ladder was lucky that the stone he was trying to dislodge did not push him off. Shots are fired  at some faces on a wall. Most of the hacking seems to be in white gypsum plaster with reinforcing rods (in which case the solid stone-cutting noises are dubbed in). Nearly all the elements shown being smashed have internal steel elements from an earlier restoration. A restoration carried out by Iraqi  workmen, among them no doubt devout Moslems.

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