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Cultural Heritage Cleansing in Iraq and Syria

Posted on Apr, 17, 2015
Contributed to WCHV by Danielle

<> on July 3, 2014 in Erbil, Iraq.In an article published online on CNN.com last month, Irina Bokova, the Director General of UNESCO talks about the destruction of cultural heritage by ISIS and related security issues.
Bokova writes: “The pillage of the Mosul museum by the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria displayed a violence rarely seen since the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamyian. The bulldozing of the archaeological site of Nimrud marked a new step in the cultural cleansing underway in Iraq. These acts are a deliberate attack against civilians, minorities, heritage sites and traditions. In the minds of terrorists, murder and destruction of culture are inherently linked.”

Bokova points out that the true nature of this conflict is a war against people. By destroying culture and cultural heritage sites these terrorist groups are attempting to crush free thinking and to ensure oppression through domination. The Islamist terrorists forbid girls to go to school, kill journalists and vandalize and destroy museums. They destroy all symbols that embody freedom of thought and respect for cultural diversity.
In her excellent article, Bokova writes that when culture is under attack, we must respond with more knowledge, and with ever greater effort to work to explain the importance of humanity’s shared heritage. Bokova also asks all young people, especially in Iraq and elsewhere to claim their national heritage as their own
Articles such as Bokova’s article importantly point out that terrorists are using destruction of national heritage as a way to destabilize populations, spread terror, and encourage violence and threaten the security of the country and the region.
To read this article go to: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/03/07/opinions/bokova-isis-artifacts-destruction/

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