15 April 2016

When statues mean more than people

Al Jazeera English

Recently on my Facebook news feed, a post materialised from an American research scientist at New York University whose CV includes work on a "joint peace-building project" between that institution and the University of Duhok in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq.
The post featured two photographs of ancient ruins in Duhok that had been on the receiving end of graffiti in the form of Kurdish flags, which the research scientist had used to equate the graffiti artists with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) - known, among other things, for itsdestruction of antiquities and archaeological sites.
"Dear Kurdish nationalists that did this," he wrote, "you're no better than [ISIL] and you're spineless cowards who, if you had an ounce of courage, would be on the frontlines and not vandalising priceless history."
Never mind that it's not up to Western visitors to dictate to long-exploited populations how precisely to manifest personal or collective aspirations, or that comparing flag painters to decapitation-happy jihadists is a bit extreme.
It bears adding that this particular fellow is himself a veteran of the United States military in Iraq and Afghanistan, two locations where the US has engaged in its fair share of vandalism - not to mention widespread slaughter. Apparently, human beings just aren't that "priceless". READ MORE AT AL JAZEERA ENGLISH.