Friday, 6 March 2015

War Crimes

'The head of the UN's cultural agency has condemned the "systematic" destruction in Iraq as a "war crime".'[BBC report].

Yes, it is terribly sad that so much evidence for ancient civilisations is being destroyed, so much beautiful work being attacked as 'idolatrous'.

Yet only last evening in a programme about monasticism the destruction of much more art and architecture, in this country, was being excused as somehow necessary before our nation could become truly enlightened. And it was asserted that the murder of those monks who resisted, like the septuagenarian Abbot Whiting of Glastonbury - hanged, drawn and quartered on Glastonbury Tor - was a fairly minor matter. It was not - and neither is the slaughter going on even now by these self-styled defenders of Islam. 

In one interview about the bulldozing of Nimrud a UN speaker described what has happened as "ethnic cleansing". There has certainly been ethnic cleansing by IS, and it continues. It is not a matter of archaeology, though.  Why such a muted response against the killing of entire communities, Christian, Yazidi and others, who were established in Syria long before the Islamic invasions? Culture matters, sure. But human beings are of infinitely more value than carved stone however beautiful. Those murders are the real war crimes.


  1. I agree with your sentiments about the UN. I also watched the programme about the monks and monasteries destroyed by Thomas Cromwell and got quite irritated by the presenter's obvious bias. She seemed determined to portray the monks as sex maniacs, driven by greed and power. More than likely the charges she read out against them were trumped up charges by Thomas Cromwell, so as the locals would not revolt against the destruction of the Abbey.

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