Cultural genocide

Empires have a long history of committing cultural genocide - removing or destroying valuable artefacts which form part of the cultural foundations of a conquered country/city/society. To this day, the Elgin Marbles remain a bone of contention between Greece and Britain. One could imagine the outrage if a foreign invader destroyed UK heritage sites or removed cultural artefacts from Britain.

Back in March this year, Daily Pickings referred to the fake destruction of ancient statues in Mosul Museum in Iraq by ISIS but while that particular video of destruction may be fake, the theft of Iraqi and Syrian cultural heritage is real.

The Agenda Behind ISIS’ Cultural Genocide by Maram Susli
New York Times: Fighters allied with the Free Syrian Army units battling the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad have told him that they are developing an association of diggers dedicated to finding antiquities in order to fund the revolution. “The rebels need weapons, and antiquities are an easy way to buy them,” says Abu Khaled, who goes by his nickname in order to protect his identity.

Looting in war has a long tradition and many valuable pieces end up in auction houses in London or New York. Plus ça change.

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