The destruction of antiquities in Syria: Obligation of the Archaeological Community

The archaeological community, has an obligation to respond to the destruction of the antiques in Syria. The only obligation is to help rebuild and restore the antiques to the best of their ability. This would be a way of fighting back, demonstrating that acts of violence and destruction is rendered ineffective in destroying the archaeological record, and the spirit of archaeological discovery and research. This will render Syrian terrorists powerless in their attempt to destroy and re-write human history for their own benefit.

There is a risk when attempting to intervene with acts of terrorism that can put archaeologists and historians at risk of violence themselves. This could also pose a threat by causing more terrorist attacks to occur.

This is an example of the repercussions of when historical records do not coincide with the beliefs of an up and rising superpower. When we looked at some of the results that can occur in the aspect of archaeology when politics are merged with it, we simply see a bias in the conclusions that are released to the general public. This in itself is a form of destroying history, except on a much lighter scale. Because the ones who have the power to withhold information or simply write over truths, already have the political power and only need to work to maintain their position. In extreme cases such as the destruction of the antiques in Syria, this is a result of a superpower that is up and coming, bent on taking political, social and historical power. In the process, they seek to completely wipe out the historical records that do not compliment their belief system. What they don’t understand is that it is important to understand the past in order to better understand the future, especially since history has a habit of repeating its self. Even acts such as this one can be seen in history with the destruction of the ancient library of Alexandria by Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and the destruction of the rebuilt “daughter library” Serapeum by Coptic Pope Theophilus. Ironically, these superpowers were all overthrown.

Currently, Egyptian jihadist, are working towards breaking down the pyramids. Based on their beliefs, these relics are not complimentary to their current religious beliefs, but rather are of “pagan” beliefs and should therefore be destroyed. Due to the current situation regarding Islamic extremist fundamentalists, and the war in the Middle East, there isn’t anything anyone can do without putting their own life at risk besides picking up the pieces and rebuilding, careful not to give terrorists the attention they are seeking through their destructive, violent behaviour.




Works Cited



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