Currently enjoying the “Museum of Lost Objects” series on BBC radio 4, which is tracing the stories of ten artefacts or sites in Syria and Iraq that have been lost through damage or looting, including the winged bull of Nineveh, the temple of Bel in Palmyra (see also my post of 12 September 2015) and the minaret of the Umayyed mosque in Aleppo. Having visited both Palmyra and Aleppo I found this particularly poignant.
Can the situation in Iraq and Syria get any worse? Not only have ISIL extremists spread fear and terror amongst the population of those countries and elsewhere, they are now destroying culture and heritage which belongs to the world. In February they released videos of ancient statues being smashed in the museum at Mosul, and later bulldozed Nimrud, the ancient Assyrian capital. Since overrunning Palmyra in May they have started to systematically destroy that beautiful and impressive city. The murder of Khaled al-Asaad was unbelievable. This renowned scholar of antiquities was interrogated for a month – probably tortured – but refused to tell them where valuable artefacts had been hidden and was brutally killed in retaliation. He was a brave and honourable man. How many of us would be prepared to give our lives in such circumstances? And the irony is that ISIL claims that such sites are idolatrous yet it does not destroy everything for it is happy to sell looted artefacts to fund its murderous activities.
My thoughts, views and musings about what's happening in the world of archives and records management, information and heritage