Friday, July 03, 2015

More destruction of Palmyra's antiquities? Plus Hatra news.

PALMYRA WATCH: Disturbing stories about a "smuggler" who was caught trying to make off with some Palmyrene statues. He was sentenced to whipping and the statues were destroyed. It is unclear whether they were ancient artifacts or replicas.

Islamic State militants hammer Roman-era statues to pieces. Images show militants publicly destroying ancient effigies in Syrian city of Palmyra as punishment for attempted smuggling (AFP).

A specific case: Effigy of Zenobia, ancient queen, among statues destroyed by IS (Times of Israel). More on Queen Zenobia here and links.

Also, Maamoun Abdelkarim, the Syrian antiquities director, appears to have confirmed a story I noted at the end of May: IS destroys iconic lion statue at Syria’s Palmyra museum. Irreplaceable Lion of al-Lat was 2,000 years old; brutal terror group also smashes other artifacts from Palmyra (AFP).

Related: UNESCO Head Warns Against 'Culture Cleansing' of Jihadists. UNESCO chief Irina Bokova calls for a campaign against ISIS "culture cleansing" (Arutz Sheva).
"I think the growing awareness that hard power will not be enough to defeat violent extremism is gaining ground. We need also soft power," Bokova said on Wednesday.

"Culture should be part of our response to violent extremism," she added.
I don't know what that means, but I hope it does some good. In any case, kudos to her for speaking out. And some related good news on Hatra: The Iraqi site of Hatra added to the List of World Heritage in Danger (UNESCO World Heritage Centre).

Background on Palmyra and ISIS's takeover of it, as well as their sustained assault on the past in the Middle East, is here and links. See also here and links. And more on Hatra is here and links.