Islamic State Bulldozes Ancient Nimrud Site

285px-Portal_Guardian_from_Nimroud._British_MuseumFlag_of_the_Islamic_State.svgThe systematic destruction of art and historical and religious sites continued this month with another crime against humanity by Islamic State militants. The extremists reject images of the human body as violations of Islamic teachings and despise earlier civilizations that were not based on their Islamic traditions. So, after destruction priceless artifacts and art in the museum in Mosul, IS destroyed the the ancient Assyrian archaeological site near Mosul. The loss is truly incalculable for humanity.

My kids have students the Nimrud civilization as one of the great periods of human growth in science and culture. It is part of the world’s heritage in an area legitimately called the cradle of civilization.

220px-Nimrud_steleNimrud was the second capital of Assyria. IS appears has eradicated Assyrian art and artifact, erasing evidence of an ancient kingdom that began in about 900 B.C. and rose to become a great power. Nimrud was destroyed in 612 B.C. but its remnants located on the Tigris River remained as one of the most important historical sites in the world. Until the Islamic State arrived.

I have previously discussed the anti-intellectual bent of the IS. It is not surprising that a movement based on medieval values and religious orthodoxy would despise any alternative historical or religious values. In order to force others to live by this extreme code, one has to prevent them from being exposed to any rational or alternative values, even historical sites that are a proud part of their heritage. The actions are reminiscent of the infamous destruction of the famous giant Buddhas of Bamiyan.

In a sense, Nimrud represents everything that ISIS stands against: the advancement of medicine, astrology, agriculture, trade and commerce. It was a civilization that took a great leap forward as opposed to ISIS that seeks to return areas to medieval conditions and religious practices. The despicable destruction of this site shows ISIS to be a threat to the very core of humanity. This was not just their history that was bulldozed. It is the history of us all. It was the record of humanity’s effort to make sense out of the world and to advance our knowledge of science and medicine.

What is equally distressing is that ISIS has secured allies among Sunni tribes who have watched such sites being destroyed as well as the systematic slaughter of captives. The U.S. and its allies are seeking to get these clans to switch sides after they supported an organization that has committed countless atrocities against religious minority and historical and religious sites. The Iraqi government has offered amnesty for these militiamen in order to fight ISIS, particularly in the fight of Mosul. Yet, it is becoming increasingly clear that ISIS intends to leave little but destruction in its wake.

63 thoughts on “Islamic State Bulldozes Ancient Nimrud Site”

  1. Azhar slams ISIS for bulldozing Nimrud

    In a statement Al-Azhar said: “what the Daesh terrorist’s destruction and demolition of monuments in areas under its influence in Iraq, Syria and Libya …by claiming they are idols is a major crime against the whole world.”

    “Al-Azhar stresses that the destruction of cultural heritage is forbidden in Islam and rejected in total,” the statement said.

  2. BitchinDog
    Walk the Plank should be a plank in the Obama Doctrine.
    = = =
    HA! He’s still trying to walk the walk…

  3. Bulldoze the Islamic State. But Wait! They have no borders. Ok, bulldoze the Islamic bulldozers and terrorists. Kind of like pirates but on land. Take no prisoners. Make em walk the plank. If on the sea then into the sea. If on land then into a volcano. Walk the Plank should be a plank in the Obama Doctrine.

  4. Oh davidm,
    It’s now almost a Century now that the USA has not had peace by your measures, too. Where is there peace when there is perpetual warring? Pppfftt… WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and lists of other conflicts demonstrate what, exactly? Most certainly NOT peace… peace isn’t a cluster bomb, peace isn’t Agent Orange… Oh davidm, what a twisted world you live in.

  5. pogo,
    Nobody is saying to let ISIS go free except you…
    And the choice you create in return to eliminate Islam is supposed to be acceptable? Convert or be killed… ? How very ISIS of you.

  6. It’s amazing how many people have to ignore the fact that Islam and Islamic culture has survived and lived together in that region for centuries without any issues until ‘radicals’ are ignited. And instead of going about solving that spark, more people (who aren’t Muslim) blame Islam for the violence… Things to make you go humm. How fast we have forgotten that there were no Al-Qaeda in Iraq before our invasion. There were no market bombings in Iraq before America invaded. The spark! Ask Rumsfeld (aka rumsFAILED) about what destabilization does to the region. Ask Jeb Bush’s foreign policy advisor, Paul Wolfowitz about what success looks like in Iraq. I’m sure these neocons know all the right answers…

    1. Max-1 wrote: “It’s amazing how many people have to ignore the fact that Islam and Islamic culture has survived and lived together in that region for centuries without any issues until ‘radicals’ are ignited.”

      Exactly when were those centuries without issues? There has never been peace in Islamic countries.

  7. davidm

    Well it seems that we kind of sort of agree about the black areas of religions. My point is that regardless of how you see Christianity it is what it is as it is wielded by man. When good men wield Christianity then it is all that it is supposed to be. When it is wielded for power’s sake by desperate men then it is what ever those that wield it wish it to be. This is no different than Islam.

    Regarding the crusades, the flag, banner, marching song of the crusades may have been to take back the holy land from Islam but the underlying reasons were much more basic. The church, always in a tug of war for control in Europe found ‘defending Christendom’ an ideal way of getting thousands of lords, dukes, etc out of their way of running things and off to recapture the Holy Land. It was a win win deal for the church. If successful the church was stronger and there were fewer divine rulers to deal with. If it was not successful, it was a long way away and as was shown, more crusades could be mustered. Jerusalem was less the seat of Catholic power than Rome. The political fortunes of much of Europe’s nobility changed when the head of countries left and their seconds took over. Venice and the rest of the Mediterranean had been trading for centuries. Much of the crusades was funded by merchants looking to make a killing on transporting people and materials by ship. The pillaging of Alexandria is even to day unsurpassed for the amount of loot. The loot made its way back to Venice, Rome, Genoa, etc. The Templar Knights created one of the world’s first banking systems and security systems using the crusades. If you take away the veneer of Christianity, this is not much different than any of the other raid, pillage, and conquer routines that dated back hundreds of years and continued for hundreds more.

    If there was any one thing that fueled the crusades it was fear of getting got by Islam. Islam had made it all the way to the Pyrenees. Byzantium had continued to lose land to Islam. The first crusade probably saved Constantinople for a few hundred years more. Islam having been checked in the Levant was weakened to the extent that Spain was reconquered and Islam turned to the East instead of the North.

    Take away the mantle of religion and it all looks much the same. Who put the soldier in Onward Christian Soldiers? Who put all the stuff about conquering the infidels in Islam? It is all part of human societal evolution. Sooner or later the people sort it out. The pinnacle of this evolution is to be found in the West, now without religion but common sense, education, and application.

  8. The most curious part about this tu quoque (‘Them Christofascist godbags did the same thing ahundred and a thousand years ago!!‘) is that it thus absolves the Islamic murderers.

    They do not at any point say the Islam killings are evil and must be stopped, it’s all Sure, it’s bad, BUT…the Christers were worser. WORSER!

    And that lets the present day killers off scot-free.

  9. The idea of erasing a culture, a history and a legacy is mindblowing. Although it doesn’t vary from the culture or Islam choice listed above by pogo… How are these choices any different than what ISIS portrays?

  10. Wally is gone again.

    I can’t wait for the next post defending free speech.

    Damn little of it here.

  11. Recarol

    Actually Constantine’s mother started it and then he, as emperor was impressed enough by the tenacity of the early Christians, their devotion to an argument over a state that he saw the advantage. The fact that the divine right to rule endured for so long, 1000 years in the case of Byzantium, and throughout hundreds of years in Europe, is proof enough of a monotheistic edge.

    At the time Christianity was chosen by Constantine’s mom there were other monotheistic religions at par with Christianity. Manichaeism could very easily have been the preferred ‘light and darkness’ amalgamation of the past voodoos and observations as it included much of the same stuff. There was and still is a strength in Christianity. For hundreds of years they were persecuted, but not always, not everywhere, and not specifically because they were Christians. Almost all of what we know about Christianity comes through hundreds of years of rewrites and editing by the church. The only fact that can be proven is that a zealot by the name of Jesus was crucified for causing trouble sometime a thousand years ago. The rest is all made up, something like the great pedophile riding a horse to heaven. Who Jesus was, and everything other than his existence is the work of philosophers that created this religion.

    As far as ticking off the pagans, the pagans or believers in the Roman pantheon of gods endured in the Western Empire for some several hundred years after Constantine. The eradication of pagan religions through conversion and/or slaughter went on for hundreds of years. The choice was the priest or the chopping block. The Romans with their pantheon of gods understood enough about diversity to allow their conquered peoples to keep their religions. Inherent in monotheism is the allowance for only one god.

    1. Isaac,

      Diocletian actually started the Roman Empire toward a divine right of rule philosophy. Diocletian was a decidedly pagan emperor who actually persecuted the Christians for their refusal to submit to the sacrificial rites. The pagan Romans were usually more accepting of other religions, but they were frequently frustrated and confused by some, including Judaism, Christianity, and Druidism. They were a live and let worship type of organization, unless you couldn’t conform.

      I would argue that the divine right of rule which was adopted by many nations following the fall of the western Empire and by Byzantium was not a response to monotheism but the chaos of late antiquity, with the Germanic invasion, plague, constant change in emperors. Having a divinely-appointed ruler would not just be beneficial to the ruler, but provide a strong, legitimate ruler in a time when legitimacy in a ruler had been sorely lacking for a long time.

      St. Helena was, indeed, Christian, which, I assume, was a matter of conscience, as again, it could not have been easy to be a Christian consort of a Caesar during a time when Christians were being persecuted. There were certainly other monotheistic religions she could have joined.

      And yes, the pagans did hold on for centuries after Constantine’s conversion, and I know of one pagan, a female academic (name escapes me) who was brutally murdered by Christians.

      I’m a little confused as to the reference to a pedophile riding to heaven.

  12. Wally,

    Inga is on to something. Why not change your name to Waldo?

    Any idea why JT or Darren censor you? The only one I’ve ever managed to read before it disappeared like a victim of Stalin’s show trials, seemed inoffensive to me.

  13. Boy.

    Somebody sure doesn’t like Wally.

    His comments disappear faster than cockroaches when the lights are turned on.

  14. Nick

    Check out the Buddhists in Myanmar. Seems they are just as capable of hatred as any other human.

    Another story of man’s inhumanity…

    Did you know it is legal to ‘re-gift’ your adopted kids (without any professional or legal oversight), one of which gets raped by the guy you gave your daughters to? (No – that part wasn’t legal.) Check out the story of Justin Harris of Arkansas.
    We wouldn’t bulldoze Nimrud, but we’re pretty careless with our children.

  15. Interesting how a greater fuss is being made of the destruction of these historical items by ISIS than the destruction of an entire country by the US military.

    Millions slaughtered.

    And of course, it was the illigal Iraq war that opened these gates of hell to start with.

  16. Isaac,

    I must disagree with you regarding Constantine. Constantine chose Christianity despite the fact that it was seen by most Romans as a religion of peace. An emperor was expected to wage war, at odds with the “turn the other cheek” Christian philosophy. Constantine took a risk converting, as it may have alienated the pagans, who were the majority at the time. I suspect that he was, more or less, a true believer.

    1. RcCarol – technically Constantine did not convert until he was on his death bed. However, there are some Catholic theologians who think he made a conversion of conscience much earlier.

      1. Constantine was baptized on his deathbed, as many were at the time (easier to get forgiveness for your sins, such as murdering your wife and son). However, his involvement with the Council of Nicaea indicates his actual conversion was earlier.

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