The ISIS destruction of the Ancient City of Nimrud has been declared a war crime by the UN (United Nations). On Thursday sources state that the group purposely defied Iraq history by taking sledge hammers to some of the ancient artifacts. The event is causing outrage globally, as ISIS continues to destroy the things that they believe promote idolatry. As the UN met in Paris with archaeologists, a Shiite cleric of Iraq, the head of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and other global parties, the head of the UN cultural organization officially declared the acts of ISIS as a war crime.
Archaeologists are angered and worried about the most recent move of ISIS against Iraq. The militant group “bulldozed” the Ancient City of Nimrud, according to sources. ISIS posted a video of their militants using sledgehammers to smash artifacts that were kept in a museum in the city of Mosul and in Nimrud. ISIS made it clear in the video that their reasoning was to destroy the symbols of idolatry, stating that God made them do it, even if the artifacts were worth billions. But in doing so, archaeologists lashed out, claiming that ISIS is erasing the history of Iraq.
Nimrud was a city that began around 900 B.C. and was one of the biggest finds in Iraq. Found in the 1980’s, the city held ancient treasures and royal tombs. Destroyed, in 612 B.C., it was the second capital of Assyria and the remains are about 20 miles south of the city Mosul. The Ancient City of Nimrud gave archaeologists many clues to ancient life, something that was very valued to the people of Iraq, and all of those who worked with the artifacts.
Though Nimrud was one of the most significant archaeological finds, this is not the first part of history that ISIS has destroyed. Though the militant group is usually in the news for killing civilians, capturing women and children, and overtaking cities, ISIS has also found a way to destroy anything that does not agree with their “religion.” After taking over the city of Mosul, the militants destroyed the Mosque of the prophet Younis and Jirjis. They then threatened to destroyed an 850-year-old leaning tower known as the Crooked Minaret, though residents surrounded the landmark and made a chain to protect it against ISIS. If ISIS continues on their path, there are many more parts of Iraq history that may be destroyed.
Now that the UN has declared the destruction of the Ancient City of Nimrud a war crime, maybe they can make a plan to keep Iraq history in tact. The damage that has already been done can not be undone, though maybe in the future, they can save the things that are precious to Iraq. In the mean time, Archaeologists have been hoping to get a good look at Nimrud to see just how much of the remains were destroyed, but as the city still remains in militant hands, no one has been able to get a close enough look. One witness, a farmer, said that ISIS took many artifacts away before destroying the city. UNESCO previously tried to convince the UN that ISIS was selling artifacts on the black market to create funds for themselves. Though this has not been confirmed, the UN is still checking into it.
Many of the artifacts were moved after they were found. Hundreds of gold items remain in the Baghdad museum. Other items were moved to the museums in Mosul, London and Paris. As for the items that were in Nimrud, ISIS supposedly made off with many, and the rest may have been destroyed. The city of Nimrud was already on watch for danger of being destroyed, due to decay, but what ISIS did to it, appalled many.
Irina Bokova, of the UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization, stated, “We cannot remain silent. The deliberate destruction of cultural heritage constitutes a war crime…” In her statement she asked that all leaders, political and religious, stand up against the destruction of humanity’s cultural heritage. For many years, cultural history has been exploited by groups. ISIS destruction on the Ancient City of Nimrud, may show that nothing in Iraq is safe, unless everyone stands up against it.
By Crystal Boulware
M.chohan – Wikimedia license