Wednesday 28 January 2015

Our Heritage at Risk in Syria and Iraq

"International cooperation is key to shrinking the market for looted art from the Middle East" says UK MP Robert Jenrick () who then goes on to blame ISIL for everything:  "No one group has done more to put our heritage at risk than Islamic State [...] We are witnessing cultural barbarism at its worst—it’s ugly, inexplicable and epic in scale—and now is the time for us all to act":
We live in a time of the most tragic and outrageous assault on our shared heritage that any of us have seen since the end of the Second World War. Ancient treasures in Iraq and Syria have become the casualties of continuing warfare and looting. And no one group has done more to put our heritage at risk than Islamic State (IS) who are not only taking lives, but tearing at the fabric of civilisation, looting and purposefully destroying the culture and collective memory of millions. And unlike some previous assaults, IS are not concealing their destruction of mosques and churches and crusader castles, they are doing so brazenly with bulldozers and bombs, available for all to see in heart-breaking “before” and “after” satellite images and shared with pride on Twitter. This is not a cultural crime to be revealed once the fog of war has cleared, this is a 21st-century crime being conducted purposefully, in full view and on social media. [...] IS want to rob future generations of any connection to the rich past of this region, denying religious and cultural ties that bind and will form part of the reconciliation to come.

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