ISIS Beheads Leading Archeologist Who Reportedly Helped Hide Artifacts And Refused To Reveal Their Location

1004411_555539554497517_663758343_n220px-Temple_of_Baal-Shamin,_PalmyraISIS has continued its blood soaked campaign to impose its view of pure Islam on the world and to destroy all evidence of art and civilization in its path. The destruction of ancient works and structures has appalled the world. The Islamic extremists have now murdered one of the world’s leading experts on the history and art of the region — 82-year-old archaeologist Khaled Asaad. By all accounts, Asaad refused to tell ISIS where art was hidden. ISIS has been destroying large works while selling smaller works on the black market. Images show ISIS supporters laughing and rejoicing as their ancient history and art is destroyed with sledgehammers as the professed will of Allah. The standoff between Asaad and these murderers put the conflict between civilization and these Islamic extremists into the sharpest relief. It also shows who many Muslims continue to put their very lives at risk to protect their history and art. Indeed, they are protecting the art and history of the very nadir of civilization.

ISIS beheaded Asaad and then hanged his body from a column in the town’s main square. He had been interrogated by Islamic State for over a month on the location of the antiquities after they seized Palmyra.

Asaad spent over 50 years working at the UNESCO World Heritage site with experts from around the world. He was renown for his knowledge and passion for archeology. His books include “The Palmyra Sculptures” and “Zenobia, the Queen of Palmyra and the Orient.” He was one of the greatest experts in the world on Syrian archeology and personally discovered several ancient cemeteries, caves and the Byzantine cemetery in the garden of the Museum of Palmyra.

Few academics or intellectuals are ever called to put their very lives at risk for the preservation of knowledge and art and history. Those like Asaad are on the frontline in a war between science and ignorance; between civilization and barbarism; between free thought and religious orthodoxy.

His headless body hanged from a pillar as another indelible image to the world by ISIS of its intent to destroy the very existence of civilization in its twisted view of Islam. For academics around the world, Asaad will remain an image of a different kind: a man of conviction and courage who died in the effort to preserve his nation’s history and very identity from those who would erase it. He died as he lived in showing that civilization transcends the lives of any given generation. This educated and enlightened man died at the hands of religious extremism and ignorance. In doing so, he left the world with a challenge to meet this ISIS threat united and unafraid and unbent.

140 thoughts on “ISIS Beheads Leading Archeologist Who Reportedly Helped Hide Artifacts And Refused To Reveal Their Location”

  1. Olly

    As with progressives being good or bad depending on who’s slurring, a block of cement could, if you really stretched, mean something good. However, I meant it to mean: dense, simplistic, with little to no texture, no strength in tension and very little in compression, something just there which may or may not make for a good foundation.

    As you opened up this can of worms, understand that I see progressive as an evolutionary thing, a good thing, a necessary thing. The greatest progressives in American history were the founding fathers. As they are not here to speak for themselves my interpretation of any of those of their texts that are open to interpretation is as valid as anyone else’s. In fact, I put it to you that their intent was a continuing revolution to match the changing times. Perhaps that is the reason for the ambiguity.

    I revere the sacred texts but I place much higher up that the founding fathers were smart enough to understand that no one set of dictums could withstand scrutiny and revision as times change. Otherwise we would still have slavery, subjugation of women, etc. It was the time of absolutes dictated from the top on down. The power of these absolutes came from them never being questioned or revamped, somewhat like a block of cement, just there. I feel closer to the time than that.

    Regarding the inclusion of patriotism in one’s beliefs, patriotism can be, more often than not, the last refuge of scoundrels.

  2. I am saddened by this behavior toward academics. Action like this by ISIS is savage and barbaric. We should treat them the same way we treated the Native American Indians. The only language they might understand is force, and even then, most of the time they don’t understand that language either.

  3. DBQ,
    That was exactly my point at 10:36a; although a bit more nuanced. 🙂

    I’m fascinated at how these intelligent people will actually avoid critical-thinking. They can see the obvious tragedy of destroying history in some other part of the world, yet when it is happening in our own country they cannot recognize the same tragedy. These same people will seek to discredit our founding fathers as hypocrites because they did not provide a Constitution and laws that lived up to the founding principles in the Declaration of Independence. What they fail to realize is those principles are the vision for America and our Constitution was designed to lead us towards that principled vision.

    Hypocritical would be to take an oath and then actively dishonor it. Hypocritical is to denounce ISIS’ destruction of history in the ME and applaud the same effort here in the United States.

    1. Olly – historical buildings here get ‘accidently’ bulldozed or burned down.

  4. As an Archeology/Anthropology major in college (yeah I know nothing to do with my actual career) I have a great love of history and the irreplaceable artifacts that show us the history.. History from which we cannot escape and from which we must learn. The good and the bad. The ugly and the beauty of the past.

    I consider this poor man who was beheaded a HERO of the highest caliber because he protected what he loved and didn’t give into the beasts.

    ISIS and the other fanatics in the world, lately in Russia, want to destroy and hide history because it contradicts their narrow constipated world view.

    Are there parts of history that we should be appalled by. Are there things of which we should be proud to have been the inheritors of. Yes. (Should I not end my sentences with prepositions….maybe) Are there parts of history that are regrettable. Yes. Should we learn to not repeat those things. Yes and we can if we KNOW and learn history. Past religions, cultures, mores, ways of thinking can ONLY be understood in context. To try to view the past with the judgmental thoughts of current society is to completely miss the sweep of history and to see the paths which our ancestors have taken.

    When a part of history is dismissed or diminished, such as condemning those societies that were patriarchal without understanding the circumstances and past surrounding those in the past, we are missing the context of history and missing the entire point. CONTEXT is crucial to understanding the past.

    Protecting history, looking at it clearly, understanding the past based on context, seeing the consequences of the past, accepting that history exists and that it affects everything we are today……..does not constitute approval of those past actions. Understanding is not approval.

    I understand the context and dynamics of a patriarchal and matriarchal society in its historical context. Doing so does not, as Inga shrieked, make me a defender of or in approval of patriarchal societies today. That is a false claim and faulty logic.

    This type of understanding is also needed in our own recent history in the United States with the War Between the States or the Civil War or the War for Southern Independence or whatever you want to call it. Merely erasing the artifacts of that war…. Burning the Confederate Battle Flag. Renaming streets. Destroying statues of Civil War participants. Destroying Confederate graveyards……trying to erase and re-write the history.

    Does that not make those who advocate for this destruction the SAME as the ISIS fanatics. Yes. It does. Except for the beheadings and killings (which aren’t that far off IMO)……it is the same intolerant and ignorant type of thinking that learned nothing from history because they want it gone, sanitized, erased.

  5. I. Annie

    Perhaps there is a connection, which, I must admit, that I had missed regarding the murder of this man and the topics of patriarchy, feminism, etc. At least I’m honest enough to admit that I didn’t see the association before; however, Chief Consort draws some interesting parallels that I obviously hadn’t previously considered.

  6. Pogo, regarding your comment 2:55 PM, you conservatives sure are kinky. That reminds me, Josh Duggar just admitted to being unfaithful and to having two accounts on Ashley Madison. How’s that for being off topic?

  7. Pogo, one would only agree with that if they were like YOU. Most rational people would probably not agree with that.

  8. The topic is beheading in the support of Destruction of Western Things.

    You must agree that Islam’s decapitation approach is not far afield from what Modern Feminists want from BadWhiteMen: their destruction.

    Maybe we Feminists can learn from ISIS, even though they are icky men.
    At least they aren’t BadWhiteMen (*spit*).

  9. Dave

    The mere mention that patriarchy appears to be way off topic–in a discussion about a man who was singled out for torture and death because of his efforts to preserve history–is in no way hijacking a thread. It is an attempt to identify a discussion that has drifted so far off base, from the story given by JT, that it in no way resembles a dialogue addressing the facts presented. Plenty of opportunity to spout one’s views on the topic of patriarchy, as it is regularly a subject for discussion in these threads, regardless of the article submitted by JT or its connection to such article.

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