War: The Sinful Axe That Cuts the Links of Civilization

  Cultural heritage is the remnant of ancestors’ activities, which embodies the thinking, wisdom and life breath of ancestors. It belongs to a country, a nation, and is also the common wealth of all mankind. And what is destroyed is not reborn, what is destroyed is impossible. Therefore, it is epochal, non-renewable and irreplaceable. Although people pay more and more attention to the important role of cultural heritage on human beings, nations and countries, and have been calling for the protection of human cultural heritage, there are still many factors that continue to lead to the destruction of cultural heritage. There are human factors, natural factors, public reasons, and professional reasons. The Iraq War in the first half of 2003 not only brought huge physical and mental trauma to the Iraqi people, but also caused huge damage to a number of precious cultural heritages of human civilization, which can be called a disaster of civilization. This has to make us re-examine the destruction of cultural heritage by war.
  War is the natural enemy of human cultural heritage, and cultural heritage is always the victim of war. In fact, military historians have long pointed out that in the call for the protection of cultural heritage, although the initiators of all wars in the past half century have more or less expressed that they will try their best not to destroy the cultural heritage of mankind, but Once the war machine is activated, it is ruthless and uncontrollable. It can also be said that as long as there is war, the cultural heritage of mankind will inevitably be damaged, but to different degrees. In the ruthless war and the chaos and disorder caused by the war, the lives of innocent people are still difficult to preserve. How can these heritages of human civilization escape bad luck?
  The war has caused the looting and looting of cultural heritage, resulting in serious damage and massive loss of movable material heritage, especially cultural relics and ancient books.
  Once the war begins, the society will be in a state of turmoil or even anarchy. As long as the cultural heritage is not protected enough and effectively, it will suffer catastrophe. One is from the invaders, and the other is from the people.
  Destruction of cultural heritage is a common method used by invaders in aggression wars, and some even directly regard the destruction of cultural heritage as one of the important contents of cultural aggression. The history of a country and a nation is the concentrated expression of its economy, politics, and culture, and is where its national spirit lies. To eliminate people’s subjective consciousness, the best way is to keep him from knowing his own history. Breaking its spiritual line of defense in the war will make it lose its national and national self-esteem, pride and cohesion, and completely destroy and cut off the national traditions representing a certain culture, thereby weakening and losing its combat effectiveness.
  Due to the war, some people also participated in looting and looting cultural relics. Many cultural heritage only professionals know their value, ordinary people do not know the importance and non-renewability of cultural relics, so civilians who want to make a fortune in the war take advantage of the fire. Collectors also want to take these precious cultural relics as their own…
  In the Iraq War, after the US military occupied Baghdad, the city fell into a serious anarchy, and some Iraqis began to loot the thousands of years of treasures in the National Museum. precious historical relics. Within 48 hours, the museum was looted, and 170,000 cultural relics, as well as a large number of precious books and manuscripts from the National Library, were stolen, possibly worth “billions of dollars”. The Iraqi National Museum is the most important and most famous museum of the historical heritage of the early civilization in West Asia. Precious cultural relics from different periods. Looting caused huge damage to cultural relics, and the chains of human civilization were cut off under sharp axes and sharp knives. Museum experts believe that there are still clues to be found for the cultural relics looted collectively, and they can be returned. However, after the rioters looted, they went their separate ways, breaking the historical memories linked by hundreds of thousands of cultural relics into pieces or even dust, and they are not connected with each other. . It is reported that Iraqi museums hold about 1 million precious cultural relics, and Baghdad’s museums hold about 250,000 of them. Now, the undamaged cultural relics in the Iraqi National Museum are less than 30% of the original. Others estimate that less than 10 percent of the artifacts remain undamaged. Needless to say, Iraq’s cultural heritage has been devastated.
  The crusades also caused great damage to cultural relics. In April 1204, Constantinople, with 400,000 inhabitants, fell into the clutches of the Crusaders, and the whole city was sacked. The cultural treasures of Constantinople accumulated over hundreds of years have been destroyed. All metal products were melted and cast into blocks for distribution, while works of art made of stone, wood, and bone were all destroyed. The Crusaders also set fire to the city for three days and nights, burning down most of the buildings, including the famous Library of Constantinople, and burning a large number of classical books and precious works of art. The Crusades, which lasted for nearly two centuries, caused unprecedented disasters to historical and cultural cities such as Jerusalem and Constantinople, and severely damaged the socio-economic and cultural development of the Middle East.
  In Chinese history, there are many examples of cultural relics destroyed in wars.
  In 1900, the Eight-Power Allied Forces entered Beijing, and they looted the palace gold, silver and jewelry, antiques and utensils, ancient paintings and ancient books. The former was completely burned when the Yuanmingyuan was burned, and the latter was also completely destroyed after the Eight-Power Allied Forces entered the palace. The destruction of these two world-famous Dasongshu and Daleshu is not only a huge loss in the history of Chinese culture, but also a huge loss in the history of world culture. A large number of precious cultural relics hidden in the imperial palace and the Summer Palace were also looted by the invaders, and even the villages outside Beijing were not spared. The coalition commander Wadeya established his own headquarters in the Hall of Yiluan, Zhongnanhai. When Wadsey moved out, he plundered all the treasures and burned the palace. Wadsey confessed to these crimes. He said: “The details of all the damage and looting suffered by China this time will never be found out, but the number will undoubtedly be extremely significant…” The
  war has made fixed material heritage, especially ancient cultural sites, historical relics and books.
  In addition to the looting and destruction of cultural relics, some fixed material heritage such as ancient cultural sites, historical relics and libraries will also be burned and destroyed. Ancient cultural relics are important cultural relics reflecting ancient human activities, including man-made engineering or the combination of natural and artificial engineering, archaeological sites and natural features. Such as palace ruins, castle ruins, village ruins, residential ruins, temple ruins, and some economical architectural remains. The importance of cultural heritage is not limited to its own artistic and historical value. Ancient cultural sites are the products of human conscious processing, so they can reflect the activities of human beings at that time, and can provide complete and important information on the development of social productivity and social life. They also have scientific value from the importance of providing us with historical knowledge. The higher the integrity of an ancient cultural site, the higher its historical, artistic and scientific value, and vice versa. If the integrity of the ancient cultural site is destroyed, and the information contained in it is incomplete, the complete meaning of the ancient cultural site cannot be accurately revealed, and the blood connection between us and history will be cut off, which will be an immeasurable loss to future generations. Cause irreparable trauma to the heritage of human civilization.
  There are hundreds of thousands of cultural sites in Iraq, especially the “Hanging Gardens” in Babylon. But it was burned by the war, leaving only a pile of sand. The “Golden Palace” in Baghdad, which took 100,000 craftsmen four years to build, was also burnt to the flames by war more than 700 years ago.
  During the Gulf War in 1991, the United States and the United Kingdom carried out heavy bombing for more than 20 days, dispatched more than 300,000 planes, and 24,000 bombs fell on Iraqi soil. The ecological environment and cultural relics in Mosul, Karbala, Najaf and Hira have been destroyed. These areas are all sites of World Heritage Sites, and Najaf and Karbala are holy sites for Shia Islam.
  The palace of Persepolis, the capital of ancient Persia, was the most magnificent palace building in the ancient world. It was built in 520 BC and completed in 450 BC. Among them, the second hall, Jinluan Hall, is supported by 100 stone pillars about 20 meters high, so it is also called “Hundred Pillars Hall”. Some people think it is the palace museum of the ancient Persian Empire, because the most important treasures of the royal family are collected in this hall. In 331 BC, the “doomsday” of Persepolis finally came. That winter, the Macedonian king Alexander occupied the city of Persepolis, marking the end of the ancient Persian Empire in Iran and the beginning of the Hellenistic era. Alexander, in retaliation for the devastation of the city of Athens when King Xersis invaded Greece, ordered the fire to be set on fire, and the palace was burnt down overnight. Since then, the most majestic and magnificent palace in the ancient world has gradually been abandoned by people and turned into a dead city, left to the wind and rain of nature and man-made destruction.
  The fate of the ancient Egyptian library of Alexandria was no exception. The ancient library of Alexandria is almost as famous as the ancient lighthouse ruins of Alexandria. It was the royal library with the largest storage, the most languages ​​and the most complete books in the world at that time. And many of the collections are single editions, with 900,000 volumes in its heyday. Due to the high attention paid to it by various parties, it has developed rapidly. By the time of Ptolemy II, it had developed into a multi-functional center, which also served as a library, academy, museum, translation center, and printing press. Such a huge library has suffered two devastating fires in history. Once in 48 BC, when Caesar, the Roman commander, led his troops to occupy Alexandria, he was devastated by war and burned down many treasured books. The other time was in AD 391, when the library was burned again, resulting in the disappearance of the books that survived the two wars, and the library had to be forced to close.
  War destroys the integrity of the cultural value of cultural heritage, thereby greatly reducing or losing its original historical, scientific and artistic value, and affecting the development of related scientific research.
  War will cause varying degrees of damage to the value of cultural heritage . Any robbery, destruction, burning, loss of cultural relics, smuggling, etc. in the war will destroy its value to a certain extent, make it lose or weaken the function of providing information for human beings, and make it impossible for people to obtain effective and valuable information resources from it; Its artistic and aesthetic value has also been greatly reduced or completely lost, and people can no longer appreciate it from the perspective of aesthetic art. Due to the war, the archaeology and scientific research of cultural relics will also be greatly affected, and the value and integrity of cultural relics will be destroyed, making their scientific research impossible or meaningless. In addition, the war will also greatly affect the scientific research and archaeological work and its technical strength. The difficulties in human, material and financial resources have seriously hindered the smooth progress and development of scientific research. At the same time, without a stable social environment and order, scientific research work is also difficult. It can be said that the consequences of war on the destruction of cultural heritage are catastrophic.
  A series of wars in the Middle East seriously hindered the development of related disciplines to study the civilizations of the Mesopotamia, and the number of researchers and the disciplinary settings in universities began to shrink. At the beginning of the 20th century, when the archaeological excavation and research of ancient Mesopotamia civilizations were in full swing, the First World War led to the interruption of civilization research, followed by the Second World War, the Gulf War, and the recent Iraq War. . The outbreak of the Gulf War first stopped the archaeological teams of various countries in Iraq, and the stagnation of archaeological work directly affected disciplinary research. As a result, the status of ancient Mesopotamia civilization research in the field of ancient civilization research has gradually declined, and Assyria, which was once as famous as Egyptology and Chinese studies, is no longer famous.
  The worst result of the Ilectic War was that after the ruins were looted, even if the lost cultural relics were found, the precious historical materials were lost. For archaeologists, the provenance of an artifact, its detailed provenance and discovery process, is as important as the artifact itself. If we see something and want to study the people and stories associated with it, then we have to know its exact source, know everything around it, and an isolated object can only mean that the story is broken. The museum experts are deeply saddened by the behavior of the rioters looting the cultural relics of the National Museum, because the cultural relics in the museum have their own internal connection. Once the internal connection between cultural relics and history, cultural relics and cultural relics is lost, cultural relics become history The particles even lose their meaning. For example, for a crown, in the process of looting, the jewelry on it may be scattered, and the crown and beads can only become fragments of history.
  Cultural heritage is becoming a bargaining chip in war or politics, and it is becoming a shield for war. It faces the huge threat brought by war.
  Cultural heritage has great value, it is fragile, and needs to be carefully protected by human beings. Today, very different from the past, culture is also becoming a bargaining chip in war or politics. People often take advantage of the great value and significance of cultural sites or their geographical environment, architectural features, etc. to provide natural sites for their military, use ancient cultural sites to protect their military facilities, and use them as war shields to make It is difficult for other countries’ armies to start. In general, this approach is indeed effective. But this will pose a direct and huge threat to cultural relics. Once war is inevitable, no shield can stop the war, and these cultural relics will become direct victims.
  The Taliban bombing of the Bamiyan Buddha is one example. The Afghan Taliban authorities used religion as an excuse to use cultural heritage as a political tool to blackmail and blackmail the international community. They brazenly blew up the world’s tallest stone statue of Bamiyan Buddha with a history of more than 1,500 years, creating a tragedy for human civilization.
  During the Gulf War, the Iraqi military used ancient cultural sites to protect military facilities, and parked two MiG-21 fighter jets near the ruins of an ancient temple in Ur, making it difficult for multinational forces to attack. Such successful experiences are becoming a common means of immunity today. Russell, a professor at the Massachusetts College of Art in the United States, also made an analysis in an interview with the media at that time, judging from the last ‘Desert Storm’ military operation, if the US military intends to attack Iraq from Kuwait or Saudi Arabia, they are likely to attack Iraq. Some historical sites were fortified or trenched. In southern Iraq, archaeological sites are often found beneath some of the highlands. Driving a bulldozer to a fortification, of course, would cause damage. In fact, this threat is very real, because many historical sites are located near Iraqi air defense bases, oil refineries and laboratories, which are important bombing targets of multinational forces in the Gulf War. The ancient cities of Iraq were built of mud bricks, and after they collapsed, later buildings were built on top of their ruins. Buildings of eight or nine storeys are piled up on the desolate and flat desert. This prominence of the platform site makes it a natural site for Iraqi radar installations and anti-aircraft weapons.
  Among the 10,000 important ancient cultural sites in Iraq, nearly 1,000 sites once had important military facilities, military bases, chemical factories, weapons factories and missile launch sites nearby. The Shrine of Hussein, a Shiite Muslim holy site in Kabbalah in southern Iraq, is located near a weapons factory and missile launch site that were bombed in 1991. The famous city of Ur in the Sumerian region of southern Mesopotamia is considered by some archaeologists to be the oldest city in the world and the birthplace of the biblical character Abraham. Its ruins are located in Nas, southeastern Iraq today. Near Riyeh, an important Iraqi military base is located there. The “Garden of Eden” mentioned in the “Bible” is now in Khulna, Basra Province, southern Iraq, where there is an old tree with intertwined roots, known as the “Tree of Adam”. Unfortunately, there is a weapons factory nearby. There are also the ruins of the Hammerabi regime, where the famous Babylonian civilization reached its peak in 1750 BC, and is only 10 kilometers away from the Hirah weapons factory in Iraq; Mosul is a missile base; the nearby ancient city of Nineveh, Assyria The Empire’s third capital is also surrounded by Iraqi military bases.
  According to relevant information, in addition to the above-ground sites that have been excavated in Iraq, nearly 90% of the Mesopotamian civilization sites are still underground. Every mound in Iraq may be a cultural site. The damage caused by the underground ruins is incalculable.
  This is the result of war and politics. The rare ancient cultural heritage is used as a shield for war, and this practice of perishing with ancient civilization is also testing our human beings and our contemporary civilization.

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