The world is watching to see if the Roman ruins will be spared or decimated like other ancient ruins in the path of ISIS as they attempt to erase all vestiges of human civilization before their skewed definition of the beginning of Islam.
Similar to ethnic cleansing, ISIS wants to remove the historical roots from which a people emerged. “In order to dictate the future, ISIS is destroying the past,” reported in an op-ed by Haaretz.
“The archaeological sites it destroys are from the Babylonian, Persian and Roman Empires. These eras represent a pluralistic past that legitimizes the presence of Chaldeans, Yazidis and other minorities in the region, with whom ISIS does not share a human heritage. ISIS' interpretation of history maintains that there are two historical eras: Jahiliyah (the time of ignorance) and, the later era, Islam (the time of enlightenment).
The presence of sites from the Babylonian, Persian and Roman Empires harks back to a golden age before Islam. ISIS is thus working to erase any trace of those eras, for it thinks it cannot control the future until it controls the past,” they said.
Vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies Jonathan Schanzer, told Business Insider that ISIS gets most of its money from racketeering, including collection of "taxes" from the residents who live within the borders of the territory it has taken over, plundering people's homes, and looting historical sites and selling antiquities on the black market.
"It’s a racket. And that’s how ISIS continues to survive and thrive," Schanzer said. "They need to jump from community to community in order to sustain themselves financially,” according to Business Insider.
Looting as propaganda
ISIS has proven to be shrewd at using social media and world news reporting to release propaganda videos of militants destroying ancient sites to insight potential converts to their cause and attract recruits and get media attention from the shock value of the destruction. Much of the media coverage surrounding the seizure of Palmyra focused on the fact that a UNESCO World Heritage Site was now in danger.
Half of Syria is controlled by ISIS since the invasion of Palmyra. And while the world mourns the loss of lives attributed to the terrorist group, the world also grieves the decimation of historical sites as symbols of our civilization that future generations will only know from pictures.
Mail Online - The slaughter of Palmyra's citizens begins: First images emerge from Syrian city over-run by ISIS... and show rows of people beheaded as terror group celebrates freeing Islamists from state prison
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