So ISIL are back in the news this morning although to be fair it seems that they are never far from the news these days. This time its because they are destroying or rather, have destroyed, the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud.
My first thoughts on reading this were initially shock which quickly morphed into pragmatism. Yes its terrible that these artifacts are being destroyed but lets face it, better this than destroying more human lives although sadly no doubt it will not be long before they're back in the news for doing that too.
I have to admit I hadnt even heard of Nimrud before today so any outrage I felt at its destruction was always going to be tempered by that however I wanted to look into things a little and see exactly what it was that was being destroyed.
Nimrud is the Arab name for an ancient Assyrian city once called Kalhu which sits just south of Mosul on the river Tigris in northern Mesopotamia. After Nimrud had existed for about 400 years, the city became the second capital of the ancient Assyrian Empire in 879 B.C.
It remained as the Assyrian capital for about 170 years, until the capital was moved -- first to Dur Sharrukin and then to ancient Nineveh.
It continued to be a major Assyrian city and a royal residence until it was destroyed during the fall of the Assyrian Empire in the seventh century B.C. at the hands of an alliance between the ancient Babylonians, Chaldeans, Medes, Persians, Scythians, and Cimmerians.
The ruins of Nimrud had covered an area of about 360 hectares and were located about 1 kilometer from the modern-day village of Noomanea in Iraq’s Nineveh Province.
So by the looks of the pictures and description, this place was quite the big deal in archaeological and historical circles.
It is indisputably a tragedy and arguably a war crime however I think its important to bear in mind that everything that was valuable enough to be moved had been moved to the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad.
The sooner the cancer on humanity that is ISIL or, as they are known more commonly in the Arabic world, Da'ish is excised and destroyed the better. One hopes that Arabic powers and indeed more global powers are doing all they can to achieve. I fear the world will have to cry a lot more tears for human lives however before that is achieved and in that context, tragic though this story is, it represents a sideshow in the terrible story of the Middle East in the 21st century.