History cannot be replayed and that’s precisely why it should be preserved. The barbaric destruction of historical monuments by the Islamic State in its captured territories of Syria and Iraq go beyond mere massacre of the innocent.
The savage terror group has been bulldozing and dynamiting vital treasures of art and culture nurtured over centuries and gained a pride of place among the greatest civilizations of the world. The outfit that feeds on a deadly cocktail of terror and imposition of its own draconian interpretation of Sharia law has recently shown how it beheaded a Syrian archeologist for “idolatry” in the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria.
This was followed by reports of blowing up of the ancient Temple of Baalshamin, built nearly 2,000 years ago, in the same cauldron that holds invaluable gems of archaeology and old-world architecture, a place deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is, however, confusion over the exact date of the structure’s destruction, but the IS has released images of what appears to be the detonation of the Graeco-Roman temple.
The modern progressive world has a responsibility to turn back IS’s unfettered crusade of demolition against anything that deviates from its warped version of Islamic faith. What the radicals do not understand is that the very idea of faith is more than what a particular religion preaches.
This is tragically evident from the fact that IS militants, who ostensibly follow a path of hardline Sunni extremism, do not even spare their other Muslim brethren, let alone ‘non-believers’, in their brutal and vindictive march towards establishment of an ‘Islamic Caliphate’.
What the extremists ignore in their thirst for fight and might is that destruction of culture is effacement of history. A history that once stood proud and bequeathed its rich legacy and shining symbols of human perfection to the generations that followed cannot be replayed.
Efforts by the US-led coalition to “degrade and destroy” the IS have so far failed. Although the West-led forces are joining hands with the Iraqi troops, Kurdish Pershmerga fighters and other anti-IS units to wrest some of the territories lost, the militant group apparently made up for the ground lost by capturing turf elsewhere.
The spirit of the fight against ‘Syraq’ terror has only been weakened by geo-politicial considerations of the parties involved. It’s time a fragmented anti-IS force united to stop the ‘cultural cleansing’, as the deliberate ravaging of cultural heritage by IS was referred to by director general of UNESCO Irina Bokova.