Words by: Jonathon Davidson
Image credit: Liveleak
Just over one month after priceless ancient artifacts from Afghanistan left the city of Perth after the Hidden Treasures of Kabul exhibit, academics and laypersons the world over have today been shocked by the dissemination of footage showing Islamic State militants destroying similar ancient statues dating as far back as the 9th Century.
In the footage, militants can be seen using modern power tools and sledgehammers to decapitate Assyrian era statues, surviving architecture so old that the mind struggles to truly rationalize the period from whence they originated.
The destruction of cultural artifacts has long been a tool used by fundamental extremists, especially within violent deviations of Islamic faith, geographically relevant across both Iraq and Afghanistan where some 12,000 internationally recognized ancient heritage sites exist.
This destruction echoes fears punctuated by the Hidden Treasures exhibit recently held at the WA State Library, which showcased a range of artefacts themselves saved from the grips of destruction during Soviet occupation of the Middle East.
While one is at risk of sounding callous in the face of countless innocent lives lost to those aligning themselves under Islamic State, the footage showing the destruction of these artifacts is absolutely heart wrenching when coupled with the sheer knowledge of how old and profound these statues and manuscripts truly are.
A link to the footage can be found here, but its a liveleak link, and there’s really messed up stuff on liveleak, so be careful.