So, what is left of Baal Shamin, ingloriously wiped from the earth’s history books by Isis? Just like the Lion of Al Lat, Nimrud, Khorsabad, Mosul museum and library, Jonah’s tomb, Hatra and many other sites of key historical importance, only looted rubble remains.

In doing this, Isis has already lost its battle. If Isis had read books instead of burning them, it would understand that it’s the day it builds, not destroys, that the world should fear its name.

Should Isis ever build a mosque, for instance, the world should shake in terror. Because it would be then that the fallaciousness of their beliefs and the falseness of their god would be made beguiling to the weak-minded of this earth, who gaze upon monuments and mistake them for eternity.

So, as in love with great historical buildings as I am, I will not weep for the temple of Baal Shamin. Time’s natural law of atrophy would have taken it sooner or later. Its destruction is a reminder that time’s same judgment stands against Isis; remember Shelley’s Ozymandias?

‘I met a traveller from an antique land

Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert.’

The legs of stone are the remnants of a once-great ruler, Ozymandias, ‘king of kings.’ Near the legs lies the inscription ‘Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’

The poem ends:

‘Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.’

Isis will be forgotten, eventually; history does not set great store by destroyers. Neither Attila the Hun nor Genghis Khan have lasting legacies; they failed to conquer history because of their destructive focus. But while history shows its contempt for destroyers by forgetting them, families always remember.

If we weep, our tears should be for the human cost of Isis’s large-scale vanity project. This mob of fundamentalists has killed hundreds of thousands and dispossessed millions. Their butchering and post-mortem mutilation of Palmyra’s respected chief archaeologist, Khaled Assaad, is the latest graphic exposition of the central tenets of their faith.

It’s this human cost that calls the rest of humanity to arms against Isis – not buildings in deserts and stone in museums. Just like the Nazis before them, Isis have distinguished themselves as apostates from humanity.

One day, they may be prosecuted for crimes against humanity. But until then, let us save our tears – and give our help to – the human victims of this demonic and stupid regime.

© Gvons 2015


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