Monuments destruction a wake-up call

  • Letters
  • Saturday, 05 Sep 2015

THE destruction of ancient structures and monuments in Palymyra, Syria regarded as the Pearl of the Desert, by the IS should be a wake-up call for humanity that values the efforts and contributions of old civilisations that laid the basis for our progress over the centuries.

These artefacts and archeological treasures must be preserved, not wantonly destroyed as idolatrous structures.

The IS, which boasts of wanting to set up a caliphate should learn from the earlier caliphates which left these so-called idolatrous monuments alone as they regarded them as the heritage and legacy of earlier civilisations and empires.

If the all-powerful caliphs had wanted to eliminate these ruins they had the means and the dominance, more than the IS, but they chose to leave them alone. What man can build, man can also destroy!

The international community feels a sense of helplessness in seeing the IS blasting and pulverising these ancient monuments and temples – silent stony witnesses to ages long gone by.

The Middle East is replete with ancient monuments and ruins as the region was the birthplace of many civilisations and empires and also where the three Abrahamic religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam originated.

Destroying these ancient structures will also impoverish the countries as they earn billions of dollars in tourism revenue. Egypt, Iran and Turkey are good examples of how historical treasures fill up modern day national treasuries and coffers.

Another shocking occurrence in areas held by the IS is the killing of minorities. The Middle Eastern Christian communities are the oldest in the world and are Arabs just like the IS members.

However, they have been unfairly targeted because of the IS anger towards the West and are being killed, forcibly converted or have to flee from their ancient homelands.

It is equally regrettable that the international community is not pro-actively engaging the IS to prevent these atrocities and destruction of historical sites.

Simply dismissing the IS as militants, fanatics or lunatics will not solve the problems besetting the troubled region.

The West, which destabilised many of these Arab countries, as well as the United Nations and the international community need to do more to stabilise and bring peace to the affected countries, and not allow the conflicts and chaos to fester and get worse.

The flood of refugees headed to Europe from these troubled regions shows that it has now become a cross-continental issue that needs urgent attention and resolution from the international community.

Presently, Europe has to bear the brunt of the problems that were triggered by the US invasion of Iraq and the regime change in Libya.

These affected Arab nations could take decades to sort out their problems and differences if there is no help from the international community.

The senseless killing and wanton destruction need to stop.


Sungei Buloh

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