On the desecration of World Heritage Palmyra: Barbarism

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Famous Russian schoolbook, History of the Ancient World, made Palmyra’s triumphal arch known to all Russian speakers.

Igor Holmogorov, Live Journal
October 7, 2015

Translated from Russian by Tom Winter
Barbarism is a depraved hatred of civilization, coming from a person already cognizant of the culture, having tasted its fruits. It is the Herostratus* complex, that perverse aesthetic pleasure from one that, though being miserable and worthless in himself, is yet able to destroy the great works that “the stupid whites” admire with such enthusiasm as to enroll them in the “Useless list of UNESCO.”

Drag in the TNT (blasphemously called all powerful), and press a button – and that which formed the sense of beauty for millions of students, not only in Russia, but all over the world, no longer exists. Herostratus considered himself more powerful than Palmyra. If not him personally, his gang is now remembered for the ages. 

Sometimes barbarism is — alas — covered by the name of religion. They say that man-made beauty prevents the perception of the true God, for He is above image and form. For the Orthodox civilization, to which Russians and a significant portion of Syrians adhere, such a view, of course, is completely unacceptable: God speaks to us through beauty. And not only the natural beauty, but also that beauty which man has been granted the ability to create, so that through the splendor of human works the Creator himself is knowable. Therefore, our civilization has absorbed much of the antique, the ancient, where beauty resulted in a huge amount of wonderful incarnations. That is why our civilization excells in the spiritual wealth of icons, mosaics, and church architecture.

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Once Syria was part of the Roman and Byzantine space. Then many people of faith settled here. Orthodox Christians, Sunnis, Shiites, and Alawites peacefully coexisted here side by side. In the XVIII century, came the moment when the Syrians took the oath of allegiance to Catherine II, accepting among themselves a squadron of Count Orlov-Chesmensky. 

This land belongs to all of them and a little bit to us – its sincere defenders. It does not belong only to the barbarians, the destroyers, the Herostrati, that have decided to falsely glorify God and their own names through chaos and death. 

But the barbarians labored in vain: they won’t get forgotten, just [chased down] and killed.
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*Herostratus was the arsonist who destroyed the Temple of Diana at Ephesus, one of the “Seven Wonders of the World,” making his name a synonym for any that seek renown by destroying something great.

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