Art Crime pp 143-149 | Cite as

The Return of Iconoclasm: Barbarian Ideology and Destruction by ISIS as a Challenge for Modern Culture, Not Only for Islam

  • Francesco Rutelli


In cities, archaeological sites and religious and historic monuments devastated or destroyed by ISIS, the West is an oblivious witness, abandoning its core values. The entire international community is suffering from the disavowal of the courageous achievements of modern culture. When my colleagues and I launched a campaign to save cultural heritage under attack in Syria,1 along with Paolo Matthiae, we did not want to defend a dictator — Assad — over the cutthroats of Daesh, or al Qaeda. We knew that these tragedies concern and sweep away universal freedoms. It appears that many were shocked with the deliberate spread of films with which ISIS, under its black banner, claimed responsibility for the destruction of the Mosul Museum. Horror, shame and barbarism. But now is not only a time for commentary. Can anything be done?


Cultural Heritage Security Council Modern Culture Hague Convention Historic Monument 
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© Francesco Rutelli 2016

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  • Francesco Rutelli

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