18 March 2015
DURING the days when I was an academic working in Berlin, Germany, I had the rare privilege of being able to take a leisurely stroll downtown to the Pergamon Museum, where, among other things, the great Pergamon altar and the Ishtar gates of Babylon were on permanent display.
Though I had seen them many times, they never failed to amaze me and were a reminder of the great feats of artistry and innovation that the ancients were capable of; proof, if any was needed, of humanity’s great civilisational genius and the fact that true genius can outlive the rise and fall of empires and the devastating onslaught of time. I had, since then, harboured the longing to see the places where these monuments and artefacts were first encountered and collected – though it seems that that desire to connect with the past now has to be crossed off my bucket list.
For it has come to light that the ancient city of Nimrud has been bulldozed into oblivion by the radical militant group calling itself the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and with that one act of vandalism, much of the legacy of the Assyrian kingdom of old has been pummelled into extinction.
…The writer is associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University.
GPO / Online / Print
Last updated on 23/11/2015