Just read an interesting article in the Doctor’s office a few days ago – and being a Doctor’s office, it was a 3 year old magazine. I was aware of the Taliban’s intolerance of the twin 1,700 year old Buddha statues – 165 feet tall – dynamiting them in 2001 – (and others have tried to rebuild to the best of their ability).
What I didn’t realize was the extent of the world’s heritage – mainly in the Middle East – radical Islamists have destroyed since 2001. Take a look at the widespread destruction (.pdf file; starts on page 35). They have even destroyed historic mosques for not having their own brand of radical Islam.
The only other theft I can think of on this scale was the theft of Europe’s artwork by the Nazis. Most of that was recovered by the Monuments Men and returned to the rightful owners from the Louvre to private individuals. The amazing thing to me – I saw both the documentary and read a massive book – was that this was about 300 soldiers- mainly British and American – picked from universities. They would go immediately behind the front lines and try and locate the stolen art – many hidden in caves by the Nazis.
Three hundred soldiers – Pfcs and Majors – saved Europe’s cultural heritage.
While there is some attempt at rebuilding some of these destroyed monuments, mosques and temples – many 1000s of years old – most are lost forever.
A few years ago, I read an interesting book on the origins of Radical Islam. The author’s contention, if I remember correctly, was that the father of radical Islam was an Egyptian Exchange student in Greeley Colorado attending a small college in the late 1940s.
Seventy years in history is an eye blink. The radicals will be gone in the scheme of time, but the destruction they wrought will be enduring.
As lex would say, “It is to weep“.