Once more those who seek to destroy culture and negate history have been using the blindness of their fanaticism as an excuse to destroy some of the world’s important cultural artefacts. The deliberate and calculated destruction of museum displays and historic sites in Iraq and Syria by the myopic followers of ISIS has again shocked and saddened those of us who hope to live in a modern and rational world.
Destruction of a county’s culture and its treasured artefacts and relics is an age old tool of oppression and dominance. Used by invaders of old, we would have hoped by now in the early 21st Century, that the human race would have moved beyond those dark stages of our history. The current situation is particularly depressing because the cultural destroyers are often local citizens who have chosen to follow a particular narrow ideology and theism.
The destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas by the Taliban and the growing number of recent cultural atrocities show that unfortunately, there are those still blinkered by narrow world views and paranoid dogmas.
In contrast to earlier times, a connected contemporary world means that this new vandalism is not going unnoticed by the wider global public and consequences will eventually be brought to those responsible for this wanton destruction. As history has proved many times, cultures can’t be simply eliminated by destroying things. Oppressed peoples will still celebrate their cultural uniqueness even when they are reduced to preserving their stories and describing their histories verbally. A culture that is cared for is robust and resilient.
The modern vandals are on the wrong side of history. Those who recognise and celebrate mankind’s collective history and cultures are on the right side.
In our own efforts to continue showcasing the positive, we are introducing some evocative photographs of two World Heritage sites recently photographed for our archive. It is the passion of people such as our photographers Oriol Casanovas and Daniel Maviet that help introduce these places to the wider community and build awareness of their special significance.
Looking at beauty can help recharge our creative spirit and remind us of the positive things still out there to discover and appreciate. Those bent on destruction and negativity are fighting a losing battle. By celebrating the positive, we can all make our small contribution towards lessening their influence and impact.
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