On 27 March a measure of security and stability was restored to Palmyra, with control over the archaeological city and airport taken back from Isis.
Isis in their time controlling Palmyra have inflicted deliberate acts of vandalism and destruction on the historical structures of the city as has been covered on this blog previously. In response to the new situation UNESCO has unanimously adopted a Russian drafted resolution for the restoration of Palmyra. Russia has agreed to provide security and protection for the experts that will be sent in to restore the city.
April 17, 2016 at 6:01 am
Do you not think that Palmyra should remain as it is, for the destruction by Isis now forms a tangible link in the history of the site and to attempt to reconstruct it to what it was pre-war somehow diminishes the intrinsic historic significance of place. Palmyra’s ancient stones have been shattered; its amphitheatre’s stage stained with the blood of those who stood against Isis’s regime of tyranny and religious intolerance and such brutal history I feel should be preserved in the fabric of this place, so for generations to come we can measure what humanity has lost and what it has gained from this turbulent time.
I would be interested on your thoughts, as you are an historian; on whether you feel restoration should take place.
I would just like to say how much I enjoy your History Bytez posts.
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April 17, 2016 at 10:56 am
Firstly, thanks for the comment and I am really glad you’re enjoying History Bytez. I agree with you completely that Palmyra as it stands is an important monument not just to the more distant past but also to the most recent history of the place and to those who lost their lives protecting it. The question of whether to restore or not is a really difficult one, and would have to be based on a number of factors, how much is left and what condition is it in, is it safe? (and I hate to say it but will it still attract tourists)
First and foremost I think the site needs to be made safe and prevent further damage, any structure that has been weakened needs to be secured so that we don’t lose more than has already been lost. If it is possible to repair elements of the city using the original materials still on site, then I think it is probably a good thing to move forward, but to ignore what has happened and try to cover up the damage done by Isis in its entirety is sweeping its current history under the metaphorical carpet. I would like to see an approach that acknowledges the recent history of the site, because there is also an important lesson there about intolerance and the value of our shared past.
Thanks for the excellent, thought-provoking question, sorry my response is a bit of a fence-sitter but without fully knowing the condition of the site it’s a tough one.
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April 17, 2016 at 6:48 pm
Maxx, I think you sum it up nicely in saying ‘I think it is probably a good thing to move forward, but to ignore what has happened and try to cover up the damage done by Isis in its entirety is sweeping its current history under the metaphorical carpet.’ I believe that this is a danger and it concerns me. As people, we need physical scars cut into our collective memories, event like this cannot be overlooked by future generations, otherwise there can be no progress in the aspirations for potential of humanity. Thank you for your reply and I do not consider it to be a fence-sitter. Paul
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