Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014
I have been entertained over the years seeing the justification used by leaders to validate involvement in other regions of the world, women and children, oil, base protection, a few stupid people needed saving, but it has never combined so perfectly with my interests until yesterday. John Kerry used the Temple of Dendur wing at the Metropolitan Museum as the backdrop for his speech on the bombing of ISIS. His reasoning for this bombing: Protecting the cultural sites and institutions in the region that ISIS is on a mission to destroy due to their basis being un-Islamic in addition to all the violence and beheadings caused by them.
In a move to justify these actions, Met President Thomas P. Campbell followed Kerry at the mic adding “‘cultural heritage and its preservation have a direct link to human understanding.’” I do not disagree. In fact, I’m thrilled to see these actions being taken. Having been to Syria and seen the Umayyad Mosque in person was a moment I will never forget. I have dreams of seeing the Zigguart of Ur one day just as badly as I want go to Iran to see Persepolis. Part of me is upset that they use cultural preservation as a justification for bloodshed. By comparison, we saw the retelling of the Monument Men in the last year about the combination of art and war. But that was a secret mission to pull the art out and not the justification of our involvement. Today, we see it as the why and not the bonus.
I hope this is successful and does not backfire. I would hate to see this as an order of execution for those sites.