Destroy Palmyra, save Humanity.

Grand colonnade and the Arab castle, Palmyra, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Syria

Grand colonnade and the Arab castle, Palmyra, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Syria

ISIS is like ice is, another ism chilling the spines in our marrows. Or the other way around. They confuse me. What with their mass-pimping of women, black masses of mass-execution and other such drug-fueled barbarism. Did I mention expensive watches? Yes, that was a Rolex on the Khalif’s wrist. Anywhose, so now they’re coming for Palmyra, resting place for wary travelers of the caravans of yore, slayer of the Sassanids, prosperous metropolis of the Roman Empire. I visited the remnants of its monumental beauty back in 2002, sauntering among its columns, temples and theaters, silent witnesses of what greatness humans are capable of. Me and literally one or two other tourists. The world didn’t seem to care much for the place then. It does now. Like that old Joni Mitchell song: “On and on it seems to go, but you don’t know what you got till a guy in a turban threatens to smash it”. “Let’s hope the Syrian army can defeat them,” I read on someone’s Facebook wall. For ISIS, having exhausted the creative range of human cruelty, is gunning for Western audiences, I mean Eastern monuments. It’s not like we didn’t care for the man in a cage set on fire with gasoline. Or the 8 year-old slicing the throat of a grown man in orange jump-suit. Humans are a dime a dozen, but we only have, like, five of those ancient stone lions. What sound does the column make, crashing down on the steps of the pagan Temple of Bel, when no one’s around to hear it? Of course we are able to care about old things and new-ish people at the same time. But the way ISIS engages in this Chinese water torture of western public opinion perhaps says something about their low opinion of western priorities. Maybe these nihilistic bearded youths have distilled such a distorted view from the disembodied western ghettos that reared them. Whichever the case may be, perhaps we ought to put those crazy ideas out of their misery and bomb the monuments at Palmyra ourselves. As in “see if we care”. And then put a United Nations peacekeeping force on the ground to save the human beings in the rest of Syria. The beautifully arranged stone slabs of Palmyra will inspire us to reinvigorate our humanity or mark the grave where compassion is buried. Your advocate

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