Wednesday 28 May 2014

Why the Syrian Looting and Smuggling Matters

Alice Fordham, 'Smugglers Thrive On Syria's Chaos, Looting Cultural Treasures', National Public Radio May 27, 2014

Nada Hassan from UNESCO says she's often asked why she cares about such things when so many are dying. She says her answer "is always that culture, cultural heritage are part of humanitarian relief. This is about the environment of people, first of all — the habitat of the Syrian people — and it's about their identity, their past, what defines them."  Hassan says armed rebels, starving civilians and organized criminals are all stealing. Roman ruins, mosques, centuries-old churches — nothing is spared. But the country needs those tangible fragments of history now more than ever. "The Syrian heritage, and heritage in general, holds so many influences. ... In this case ... where a country is fragmented, heritage will have a very important unifying role," she says. She says some day the war will end. Syrians will want to build a future — and they'll need reminders of their shared past to do it.
Vignette: The costs of conflict: the future is part of them.

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