ISIS is composed of a bunch of jerks. That is established fact.
One of the things jerks do when they move into a new place is that they immediately set about trashing it, even if the previous owners had taken pains to keep the place clean and well-kept.
This is what jerks call “settling in.”
ISIS has been settling in to parts of Syria that include the ancient site of Palmyra. In case you’re unfamiliar with it, Palmyra is a city that was documented as far back as the second century B.C. as a stop for desert-traversing caravans. Archaeological digs have found evidence that the city was inhabited clear back in Neolithic times.
Palmyra’s history makes some of the most ancient cities in the Middle East look like modern strip malls.
What’s most valuable about it is what it might teach us about eras of history that are shared by large swaths of the human race.
So naturally ISIS, being the jerks they are, blew up one of the oldest temples they could find, the 2,000-year-old Baalshamin Temple, just because they could.
This led the United Nations’ cultural agency, UNESCO, to label the act a war crime.
Don’t get me wrong. I think it is probably a war crime under international laws. But … um … what about all those people ISIS has killed?
Maybe I missed something, but I don’t recall a huge outcry whenever ISIS has pillaged, plundered, raped, tortured and beheaded its way into a new territory. Especially when the people being robbed, raped, tortured and killed happened to be Christians or Jews.
In fact, the U.N. has been awfully quiet about the whole human tragedy being caused by the ISIS caliphate’s march to Armageddon.
But blow up a building, well. …
Mind you, this destruction took place a week after ISIS tortured and beheaded Professor Khaled al-Assaad, the senior citizen who had been caring for the Palmyra site, because he wouldn’t divulge the whereabouts of various treasures that had been hidden to protect them from ISIS.
Chances are, you didn’t hear about the professor’s death, either.
“The systematic destruction of cultural symbols embodying Syrian cultural diversity reveals the true intent of such attacks, which is to deprive the Syrian people of its knowledge, its identity and history,” UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said in a statement.
She’s preaching to the choir here.
Nonetheless, wouldn’t it be nice if the world’s leaders could get just as outraged at hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of deaths as they do about an old building?