New Delhi, May 23: The aggression of the ISIS has increased and going by the situation on hand, it is likely to increase. The take over of Palmyra the ancient city in Syria is significant for a lot of reasons.
The control that the ISIS yields today over Palmyra should cause a concern for any human being who loves things that old and beautiful. While a considerable majority thinks that Palmyra is the most beautiful city in the world, the ISIS differs and terms it as an Age of Ignorace.
Islamic fundamentalists hate anything beautiful:
Time and again the Islamic fundamentalists have proven that they hate anything that is beautiful, old and has a heritage. Like the Taliban felt about the gigantic Buddha statues in Afghanistan, the ISIS feels that such heritage is bad as it indicated that Islam was being subdued at the hands of the Christians.
It is frightening to think what the ISIS may do of the various structures in Palmyra. They have already shown what they did at Nimrud in Iraq where artifacts were destroyed.
While to the world it seemed that the only aim was destroying the artifacts a little known fact is that the more valuable items were stolen and smuggled for a good amount of cash.
The Taliban too has had a history of destroying heritage structures. The Buddha status in Afghanistan were brought down in a heartless display of aggression.
The take over of Palmyra was aimed at destroying the ancient city. There are ideological reasons for the take over of the city. The ISIS says that Palmyra symobolises an age of ignorance.
What is at stake in Palmyra?
The Temple of Baal which is a 1st century AD building represents the marriage of an ancient Near Eastern and Greco-Roman Architecture.
The Great Colonnade a street measuring 1100 metres links the Temple of Baal to the West Gate and the Funerary Temple.This was constructed in the 2nd and 3rd century in stages.
The Roman Theatre built in the 2nd century hosts the annual festival at Palmyra. The Palmyra Museum which has several ancient artefacts which are several 1000 years old is also under the radar of the ISIS.
Is it just about fundamentalism?
While the ISIS may make it seem that they are only destroying everything that was created in the Age of Ignorance, the fact remains that smuggling of ancient artefacts is a major draw among terror groups and smugglers.
Mohammad Atta, one of the masterminds of the 9/11 attack had dashed off to Germany to sell artefacts that he had stolen from Afghanistan and the same was used to fund the attacks.
It is a well known fact that the ISIS when it destroys art museums shows videos selectively. Most of the artefacts that they destroy and show on video are the less valuable ones. They however never destroy the valuables which fetch high prices in the market.
The high value artefacts are smuggled out and sold to international smugglers for a huge price. There are maniac antique collectors across the world who are willing to pay any price for such artefacts.