Tuesday 29 July 2014

Iraq: Weekend of Destruction

Christopher Jones (Ph.D student at Columbia University in New York) has an interesting blog "the Gates of Nineveh". The latest well-informed post however is not enjoyable read: 'Even More Islamic Heritage Destruction in Iraq', July 29, 2014:
Sadly, it appears that last Thursday’s demolition of the Tomb of the Prophet Jonah in Mosul was only the beginning of a weekend of destruction by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Several more sites sacred to Sunni Islam have been destroyed in the Mosul area. It seems that ISIS first moved against Shia shrines and mosques in their territory. This is because the Shia, as embodied by Iran and the Iraqi government, are the most immediate threat to ISIS’ goal of establishing a Sunni Islamic caliphate.
First their monuments, then the people perceived as standing in their way? As for what is being done to try to save the cultural property of the region, UNESCO had a meeting:
Aside from banning things that are already illegal and reiterating that sixty year old treaties exist, the main effort of this action plan seems to be to direct resources into potentially moving antiquities that are under threat to other regions for safekeeping. It is not clear if this means taking them out of the country temporarily or moving them somewhere else in Iraq. If ISIS ever makes its long-feared push on Baghdad this sort of plan might have to be put into motion very quickly.

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