Haifa Zangana*2 “The barbaric destruction of Iraq’s ancient artefacts is a war crime” http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/feb/27/destruction-iraq-ancient-artefacts-war-crime-islamic-state
But it is a crime that also has to be seen as part of the trajectory of cultural destruction since the invasion of 2003. This is a destruction that aims to erase memory and, above all, collective identity. Those who are responsible for historical destruction, no matter what rhetoric they adopt, must be held to account as war criminals.
Among the crimes Iraqis have witnessed in more than a decade of chaos are the use of ancient heritage sites as US bases. According to Zainab Bahrani, professor of art history and archaeology at Columbia University*3, “These sites include Ur, the legendary birthplace of Abraham; Babylon, the famed capital of Mesopotamian antiquity; and Samara, the Abbasid Islamic imperial city. The digging, bulldozing, filling of sand bags and blast-barricade containers, the building of barracks and digging of trenches into the ancient sites have destroyed thousands of years of archaeological materials, stratiography and historical data.”
The Geneva convention, which states that an occupying army should use all means within its power to protect the cultural heritage of an occupied country, has been defied. This behaviour has given the green light to Iraqi governments, before and after the withdrawal of US forces in 2011, to carry on what seems to many Iraqis to be a mission of destruction.
Archaeological sites have been left without protection and have become easy prey to looting. In October 2010, before the rise of Isis, the Global Heritage Fund*4 listed Nineveh among the top 12 sites in the world most threatened by irreparable loss. Historical artefacts are now sold in international markets: political corruption has swallowed most of the Iraqi budget, leaving nothing for cultural protection and development.
なお、ISISはモスルで昨年７月に預言者ヨナの埋葬場所と伝えられているモスクを破壊した*5。ヨナにとっては、鯨に呑み込まれた以上の災難。また、６月には歴史家Abu al-Hassan al-Jazari（ibn al-Athir）*6の墓が破壊されている*7。
*3:See eg. http://www.columbia.edu/cu/arthistory/html/dept_faculty_bahrani.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zainab_Bahrani Hugh Fitzgerald “Crisis at Columbia: Columbia's Hysterical Arabist, Zainab Bahrani” http://www.campus-watch.org/article/id/2352
*5:Associated Press “Isis militants blow up Jonah's tomb” http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/24/isis-militants-blow-up-jonah-tomb
*7:See eg. Hrag Vartanian “ISIS Destroys Historic Sites in Iraq and Syria” http://hyperallergic.com/136800/isis-destroys-historic-sites-in-iraq-and-syria/ Sarah Cascone “ISIS Destroying Iraq's Cultural Heritage One Site at a Time” http://news.artnet.com/art-world/isis-destroying-iraqs-cultural-heritage-one-site-at-a-time-58790 “Mosul and Nineveh - ISIS militants violently persecuting Christians” http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/71713.htm Tom Anstey “ISIS deliberately targeting and destroying Iraq’s cultural heritage” http://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/detail.cfm?pagetype=detail&subject=news&codeID=310727