The genocide continues in Iraq and Syria, conducted by the marauding army of Islamist terrorists that have swept across the cradle of civilization in a stunning show of ancient barbarity. Slaughter, slavery, and mass expulsions have returned to Mesopotamia, a nightmare from humanity’s darkest chapters coming to a world that so far has refused to fully awaken to its danger. Part of the effort in any genocide aims at destroying the history of the peoples it supplants, and ISIS shares that quality with the Taliban in Afghanistan, which destroyed the ancient Buddhas of Bamiyan in an attempt to erase the history of the region. (Worth noting: the world didn’t do much about it then, either — not until six months later, when their allies in al-Qaeda slammed three planes into buildings in the US and very nearly a fourth.)
The barbarians are at it again. Last week, ISIS claimed to have destroyed invaluable Assyrian artifacts at a museum, but some of the destruction in the video was later exposed as a fraud. This time, the Iraqi government reports that ISIS really has bulldozed the remains of a city that goes back more than 3200 years:
A tribal source from the nearby city of Mosul told Reuters the ultra-radical Sunni Islamists, who dismiss Iraq’s pre-Islamic heritage as idolatrous, had pillaged the 3,000-year-old site on the banks of the Tigris river, once capital of the world’s most powerful empire.
The assault against Nimrud came just a week after the release of a video showing Islamic State supporters smashing museum statues and carvings in Mosul, the city they seized along with much of northern Iraq last June. …
Nimrud, about 20 miles (30 km) south of Mosul, was built around 1250 BC. Four centuries later it became capital of the neo-Assyrian empire – at the time the most powerful state on earth, extending to modern-day Egypt, Turkey and Iran. …
“The deliberate destruction of cultural heritage constitutes a war crime,” Bokova said, describing Iraq’s history as “the heritage of the whole of humanity”.
The UNESCO official is right about this being a war crime, a crime specifically designed to strip the Assyrians of their ethnic and cultural identity. The loss of the Nimrud ruins shows ISIS leadership to be not just savage, but also incredibly insecure, just as the Taliban were. They cannot stand any challenge to their authority and their definition of loyalty, and therefore must deal with any hint of heterodoxy with brutal force.
However painful the loss of Nimrud might be in the cultural sense, though, let’s not lose sight of the actual genocide unfolding in the region. Earlier this week, Cardinal Timothy Dolan reminded CNN viewers that the Assyrians and their ancient Christian culture was being eradicated from the region by ISIS as part of their Islamist tyranny:
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop for the Catholic Archdiocese of New York City, agreed with CNN’s Chris Cuomo today that Islamic State jihadists are engaging in “targeted genocide,” a “holy war” against the Christian population in the Middle East, with Dolan adding that these extremists are indeed “Muslims” however “perverted” their form of Islam.
On CNN Live this morning, Mar. 3, host Chris Cuomo asked Cardinal Dolan, “Obviously, ISIS is going after everybody who doesn’t agree with them. But do you believe that this is targeted genocide, this is holy war by these ISIS extremists on Christians?”
The cardinal said, “I do. I think it’s time to talk turkey. I think it’s a systematic, well-choreographed, very well-focused attempt to eradicate the ancient Christian population in the Middle East.”
Certainly, ISIS wants to wipe out any culture other than its own, but let’s keep this in perspective. They’re wiping out populations of people, and not just Christians either, but Yazidis and other Muslims who do not share their extremist views. The Assyrian culture, which dates back more than three millenium, is in danger of being utterly destroyed while the world dithers on how to do as little as possible while still being able to claim that they took some kind of action.
We hear a lot of talk about multiculturalism in the West. We don’t see much commitment to it when an actual threat to it arises and targets our friends. This isn’t a “microaggression” where a few feelings get occasionally bruised — thousands of people are dying, and they’re the ones who got along with everyone else until the West took a powder. Let’s see just how committed we are to stopping genocide and promoting multiculturalism where it counts.