Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014
I found this article both disturbing and enlightening. In the continuing coverage of ISIS predations in the Middle East, we don’t often take into account the cultural price of the conflict. Justifiably, to be honest, because the human toll is so high. But there is added tragedy in the destruction of priceless cultural edifices throughout Syria and Iraq.
I found this passage particularly haunting: “Maamoun Abdulkarim, director general of antiquities and museums in Damascus, said that he has lost three staff members: one in a sniper attack, one in a bomb blast. Perhaps the most unsettling, he said, was the beheading of Abdullah al-Hamaid, 34, a ranger who guarded several tells, or archaeological mounds, and other heritage sites in Deir al-sour.”
To ISIS, “culture” seems to be synonymous with contamination or imperialism. It seems odd, because the museums and cultural artifacts they are destroying represent their own rich, collective history, but there you go. If anything, it further illuminates both the brave efforts of those attempting to preserve and manage these sites and the necessity of cultural institutions in the first place.
There’s another article over on the ArtsBeat blog about a grant given to individuals who preserve and protect sites in Syria. Read about it here.