desecration and demolition of tombs and temples in Syria under Islamic State

@oivej has sent me links to Islamic State propaganda that documents the demolition of a temple in Alalianih (in the province of Damascus), demolition of graves and tombs in a village (in the province of Aleppo) and demolition of seemingly recent, aniconic graves in a cemetery in Tadmur (in the province of Homs), the last of which has been reported by Johnlee Varghese in the International Business Times.

First, they highlight that even a lot of the destruction that is advertised by the Islamic State does not get identified and reported outside of the region. Second, they highlight that there is a continual, grinding campaign of desecration and erasure of local communities’ heritage; it is a deeper, harder campaign than the headline-grabbing attacks on world-famous sites that provoke intermittent outbursts around the world.

And third, I believe, they suggest that many of the people who are shown in the propaganda – the ones who are not wearing the black outfit or (para)military kit and face-coverings – are effectively conscripted locals, who have been forced (or who know that they have no choice other than) to destroy their own cultural property. Apart from the need for that possibility to be realised in the policing of destruction, it further emphasises the brutality of this psychological warfare.

Is it also telling that the propaganda used the internationally-recognised “brand” name of ancient Palmyra instead of the standard local name of modern Tadmor/Tadmur/Tudmur? My machine translation must have provided a user-generated translation because, as Laguerre kindly pointed out, ‘the Arabic language captions say “Tadmur”‘ (not Palmyra).

demolition of a temple in Alalianih under Islamic State rule

demolition of a temple in Alalianih under Islamic State rule

demolition of tombs in a village under Islamic State rule

demolition of tombs in a village under Islamic State rule

demolition of graves in Palmyra under Islamic State rule

demolition of graves in Palmyra under Islamic State rule

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3 Responses to “desecration and demolition of tombs and temples in Syria under Islamic State”

  1. “Is it also telling that the propaganda used the internationally-recognised “brand” name of ancient Palmyra instead of the standard local name of modern Tadmor/Tadmur/Tudmur?”

    No, it isn’t, because the Arabic language captions say “Tadmur”.

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