THE NECESSITY TO Preserve Our Historic Architecture From Acts Of Cultural Vandalism
Khaled al-Asaad passed away for the buildings he loved. This article talks about the ideals which we put on our cultural history, and specifically the exceptional architecture and the monumental sculptures that ought to rank among our most historical and most cherished relics. These solid, tangible links to our past are sometimes taken for granted by the inhabitants of the present-day countries in which they are located. But their value to the social history of the whole world should be worth focusing on to everyone, and way more today than ever. Cultural identity is changing in many countries, and the threats – particularly in a single part of the world today – are truly horrific.
Ask what the most precious standard of living on the planet is, and many would answer without hesitation, human life itself. We value this above all else. We place such high store because of it that in many societies all human life is considered sacrosanct, whatever its condition to be. Indeed, the greatest crime anyone can typically commit is the crime of murder, the willful taking of someone else’s life. This informative article will not take issue with society’s duty to care for the lives of each and every one of its residents. But is there other values which could be considered equal to or even higher than individual life itself?
Could be or should be? This is actually the first of a brief series taking a look at the relative beliefs which we put on immensely important elements of our society, environment and culture. This article will concentrate on the place of historic architecture in the modern world and its irreplaceability, with illustrated examples.
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The terrible loss of these historic sites in Iraq and Syria will be outlined here together with other recent instances of cultural destruction. However, first there’s a brief take a look at architectural vandalism prior to the 20th century. Lest anyone think that the behaviour of ISIL is today’s phenomenon, that is of course, not the full case. Throughout all the history of human ‘civilisation’ and since two tribes first went to war against one another, folks have been destroying the fantastic works created by their predecessors, or by modern rivals. Sometimes it’s been for purely useful reasons – ruined structures provide a ready source of materials for use in new constructions.
But often it has been done to intentionally irradicate all of that remains of a vanquished culture, or even to get rid of opposing perception systems. And the effect has been the increased loss of unique architecture out of every period of history. In historic times it was common for the monuments of old rulers to be split up by new emperors and kings who regarded the memory of their predecessors as a risk to their own power. And depictions of another society’s gods would often be damaged as heretical. And entire metropolitan areas like Troy and Carthage would be razed to the bottom to ensure a defeated rival could never rise again.
What’s more, modern day cultural vandals like ISIL are a kindred heart to the Christians of the 5th and 4th century, who shut down and damaged the shrines and temples to the former Roman Gods to replace them with churches. All these ancient acts of vandalism robbed Western civilization of a lovely and important part of our very own art history and culture.