ISIS Hated Beauty, History, Freedom, Music and Art

 

Two BBC documentaries which are available to watch right now show just how much Islamic State hated beauty, history, freedom, music and art.

In the The Road to Palmyra, architectural historian Dan Cruickshank and photographer Don McCullin journey to Palmyra to observe the destruction IS wrought after they invaded the ancient Syrian city in 2015.  Cruickshank is visibly overcome at times as he discovers just how much precious human history IS tried to obliterate.

Manchester: Bomb Our Story interviews the young victims of the 2016 bombing of Manchester Arena, all of whom are deeply traumatised by the wicked events of that night. They were supposed to enjoy an evening of innocence, dancing, laughter and fun. But a crazed, murderous terrorist had other plans.

I highly recommend you watch these two deeply moving and insightful films.


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We Need A Cultural Shift If We Are To Prevail In The War Against Terror

Like so many of us I have been trying for the past few days to gather my thoughts and reflections about the events in Manchester. As a political writer, the Jihadist onslaught against Western civil society over the past few years, drains the creative energy from me, replaced by anger and sorrow. I run out of new things to say about a phenomenon which is now increasingly commonplace, normalised even by some estimations. I run out of adjectives to describe the attacks and the terrorists responsible: horrifying, brutal, sadistic, evil. The English language has its limits.

That being said, something does seem to have shifted in this case. I feel a little queasy even suggesting that, as if our society didn’t get the memo a decade ago, or after one of the numerous attacks since. In just over a month, it will be twelve years to the day since the 7/7 attacks in London. Since then, the only respites we have enjoyed from the cancer of Jihadism have been granted by our security services, whose work in general has been highly praiseworthy, stopping attacks before they happen.

But still we fail. Our leaders fail us in their empty platitudes. We fail to assert the virtue of our civilisation and our corollary duty to prevail. We fail to have honest conversations about the root of the problem. We fail in our creeping normalisation of terror. Read More…

The Islamic State and the Fragility of Culture

Amid the hysteria and tumult of the Trump inauguration, some of you may have missed the latest event in the Islamic State’s far too enduring campaign of wanton destruction against everything that makes human culture a worthwhile project (author’s note: I will henceforth refer to them by their appropriate name of Islamic State rather than pervert the name of a beautiful ancient Egyptian goddess). Having retaken the territory after an earlier desecration in 2015, IS destroyed the Tetrapylon structure at the site of the Roman theatre of Palmyra in Syria, one of the most beautiful structures of classical antiquity. It seems they were intent on finishing what they started in 2015 when they tore through Palmyra in a frenzy of destruction, levelling the 2000-year-old Temple of Bel and many other historical artefacts. A spray-painted scrawl of Jihadist graffiti can be seen peppering the rubble, laying desecration on demolition. Read More…