ISIS threatens to destroy the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra

by Gramfan on May 19, 2015

in Gramfan (team member), history, Islamic State (of Iraq and ash-Sham/Levant/ISIS/ISIL/Daesh), Syria

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Published on May 15, 2015 by PigMine 2

May 14, 2015 – Syria’s director of antiquities has called for international help to save the ancient city of Palmyra before ISIL terrorists ruin it.

The terrorist group has advanced to the gates of the historical city, raising fears the Syrian world heritage site could face destruction of the kind the militants have already wreaked in the Iraqi cities of Nimrud and Hatra. Officials have warned that they can safeguard artifacts, but architecture is under threat. Meanwhile, the Takfiris also executed at least 26 civilians after overrunning their villages near Palmyra. According to the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, ISIL Takfiri group has killed more than 2100 people in Syria in the past ten months. The London-based observatory believes the figure is higher, as it does not include hundreds of people who are still missing, as well as those unaccounted for in ISIL jails.

Michael Smith has the story:

Here’s Boris Johnson, London’s Lord Mayor and a thinker writing in The Telegraph.

We must save Palmyra or the maniacs will raze civilisation

A learned culture that gave us diversity, beauty, learning and heritage is under threat from Isil

The other day, I was trying to persuade a political friend of the urgency of doing something to save Palmyra. To be fair to him he understood the horror of what could happen in the next few days. My friend had never been to the ancient city, so I tried to evoke the glory of the colonnades, the temples, the sculptures.

I explained the sense of wonder that fills the visitor as you watch the dawn break on these vast fields of rosy old masonry, the amazement at coming far into the deserts of Arabia and finding structures that derive so plainly from ancient Greece and Rome. I think I got across my almost-physical sickness at the idea of surrendering this urban masterpiece to the monsters of Isil.

I told him of my terror of the sledgehammers and the dynamite of these moronic iconoclasts, and I think he understood where I was coming from.

Gently, however, he posed the obvious question: why Palmyra? Why now? After all, we in the West have collectively decided to do very little to help hundreds of thousands of Syrian human beings. How can I justify an intervention on behalf of inanimate objects? There is, frankly, no easy rejoinder. The saving of human life should always come first. Nor is Isil unique in performing acts of awful cultural destruction: think of Dresden.

No nation is entirely guiltless of such crimes. Yet I want to convince you today that there would be something peculiarly catastrophic about the loss of Palmyra; and it is not just the superb quality of the remains – one of the truly breathtaking sites of the ancient world, fully deserving its UN world heritage status. I believe there is something more at stake in Palmyra – and that is the very idea of our Western civilisation and what we stand for.

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