Just when the outer limits of one’s ability to be shocked by the depths of human iniquity seem to have been exceeded, something more cruel and brutal comes along that defies the definitions of outrage and horror. Such is the case with the recent videos released by the Islamic State featuring a cruel orgy of killings and now followed by the wanton destruction of universally valued cultural treasures in Iraq.
Of course, the orchestrated intention behind these videos is precisely that: to continue to shock the world through an endless broadcast of increasing of brutality. At the risk of a unintentionally abetting the aim of the Islamic State to publicize their escalating crimes against humanity, ICOMOS cannot remain a silent witness to the arbitrary and unjustified massive extermination of individuals, communities and our shared cultural heritage and memory. A simple expression of repudiation on our part is futile and no longer an adequate response given the magnitude of the atrocities being perpetrated. The shared task to be assumed now is to stop the insanity through whatever means may be available.
For this reason, ICOMOS fully supports the call issued by UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council in the hope that the international community can put in place the means to end this downward spiral into savagery.