Extremists ‘terrified of history,’ UNESCO chief says, deploring destruction of Arch of Triumph in Palmyra

5 October 2015

Extremists will “never be able to erase history,” the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova, said today, condemning the destruction of the Arch of Triumph in Palmyra.

"This new destruction shows how terrified by history and culture the extremists are, because understanding the past undermines and delegitimizes the pretexts they use to justify these crimes and exposes them as expressions of pure hatred and ignorance,” said said Ms. Bokova.

“Palmyra symbolizes everything that extremists abhor; cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue, the encounter of different peoples in this centre of trading between Europe and Asia,” she declared.

“Despite their relentless crimes, extremists will never be able to erase history, nor silence the memory of this site that embodies the unity and identity of the Syrian people,” she continued.

Ms. Bokova also said that there would be no impunity for war criminals, and that UNESCO would make every effort to ensure that those responsible for the destruction of the Arch would be tried and punished.

According to UNESCO, the Arch of Triumph was built by Septimius Severus between 193 and 211 AD. It marked the junction between the immense Great Colonnade of the site and the Temple of Bel, also destroyed this year.

 

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Syria: UNESCO chief condemns destruction of Palmyra’s ancient temple

Extremists “cannot silence history,” the Director-General of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova, declared today, firmly condemning the destruction of Palmyra’s ancient temple of Baalshamin, in Syria, a World Heritage site.