Palmyra: Art vs.Humanity?

The past few days has seen a flurry of articles in the Western press depicting the imminent take over of Palmyra by IS and the threat it posed to the city's historical ruins.
Situated about 200 km Northeast of Damascus, the oasis, which used to serve as a caravan stop for travelers crossing the desert and was nicknamed "the Pearl of the desert", is surrounded by 20 different variety of palm trees. They likely gave the city its name of Palmyra: Tadmor, as it is referred to in the Bible would come from the Hebrew word 'tamar', or date (the fruit), whereas Palmyra would come from the Greek word 'palame', which means palm. The Semitic city has been home to Arameans, Amorites and Arabs, as well as Jewish and Greek minorities. At its height it boasted more than 200.000 residents.

Temple of Baal (Photo Telegraph)
Listed as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO, the city has been assaulted on numerous occasions since the war broke out in Syria in 2011, and its art has been coveted by the various warring parties - in 2012, Syrian soldiers were seen carrying funerary stones.
When word came out last Tuesday that IS was at the city's doors, the world's main concern was to preserve the city's historical inheritance which is considered unique an one the most spectacular sites in the Middle East.
What was barely mentioned, if at all, was the fate of the city's inhabitants, who had been under siege for the last 4 years and were now facing IS.
The question that arises is: When did  Historical Sites become more important than human lives? When did Art take precedence over Humanity?

Palmyra Statues (Photo ZeeNews)

Is it because of the "temporality" of humans versus the "eternality" of Art, or simply put Art is eternal, people are not, and when Art is defaced and its eternity threatened, it seems to become more important to save it than human lives.
As the attack became more imminent, on Wednesday morning, the Syrian antiquities authorities made sure all the transportable art works were moved to a safe place outside the city.
There are currently about 170.000 people living in Palmyra, including 50.000 displaced persons. from Homs and Der Ezzor.
None were moved to safer places.
None were mentioned in the press until it was too late.
Hundreds are no longer alive to tell the tale today.
Amongst them, architects, sculptors, painters, musicians, writers.


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