Are you a terrorist goon or the leader of a bunch of them? Gee I sure hope not. But if you are, your tactic to gain massive worldwide attention is to do one of two things:
1) Grizzly YouTube execution that would make Stalin’s ghost cringe
2) Smash ancient ruins like a boss
You can kill thousands, burn cities, and otherwise be a total freak, but only tactics (1) or (2) will cause the majority of the world’s media to notice.
Front page, baby! On to Baghdad! [load ISIS cheering] [ISIS guy pops top on looted Apostate beer can; drinks abundantly without guilt; because these dudes are all liars when they say it’s about religion; just ask Bin Laden’s porn stash]
How out of touch with reality are most modern media folks? Eh, take this BBC article on the ISIS capture of Palmyra:
The caption for the article’s picture is: “Why does IS destroy ancient history?”
Well BBC, how about: “Because they’re a bunch of fucking degenerate assholes.”
But apparently, if they smash ancient ruins in Palmyra, then they’re really, really fucking degenerate assholes.
Except that, by drawing attention to such lunacy, the modern media is a direct contributor to this. Even the BBC admits it in the article they put on their front page:
“The BBC’s Jim Muir in Beirut says acute international concern over Palmyra might actually spur the jihadists on to make destroying the site a priority.”
Wow! What an insight! This is, like, pre-school kids stuff, folks. The bully doesn’t want to just beat up the kid for his milk money. He needs an audience for self-validation, etc, etc. [pauses typing; furrows brow in frustration and fatigue]
Attention news goons!
History isn’t about a bunch of old ruins. History is about ideas.
Don’t believe me, just have a gander at the following approximated list of folks who’ve owned Palmyra since the beginning of freaking time:
Do you think the folks who lived and built during these times were under any illusion that their lands were nothing more than one of history’s unfortunate frequent door mats? Even the Nomads undoubtedly understood basic geography. There are some places on the planet where you quite literally better understand that you’re building your house on sand. I think Palmyra’s probably been sacked and burned a dozen times.
This is not to say I’m down with ISIS sacking and burning Palmyra again, or trashing all its priceless historical landmarks. But honestly, history’s greatest gift is ideas. If all we’ve got to throw at ISIS is that they’re baddies for breaking statues, we’re missing the point.
They’re a bunch of baddies because they murder, piss upon religion, and generally act like 5000 years of human progress is irrelevant. They are an insult to the very air our culture breathes. And yet, I read this morning that 17 thousand foreigners have traveled to Syria to join them. Why?
Because we’re losing the war of ideas. Example (a), BBC article. We’re missing the point.
Oh, and we’re also losing the actual war too. Say what you will (good or bad) about all the aforementioned owners of Palmyra, but almost all those dudes were straight warriors. How else did they acquire Palmyra to begin with? So if their ghosts are boozing it up in Valhalla and observing all this?
I submit their biggest shouting at us is not that we allowed ISIS to break down all their buildings. Instead, they’d likely be wondering why the civilized world has not marshalled enough will and resources to smash ISIS and be done with it?
They’d smash ISIS. And they’ve been dead for hundreds if not thousands of years. And they were supposedly history’s barbarians? While today we’re supposedly smarter and more refined? Eh, maybe our culture needs a little barbarian breathed back into it.
It’s amazing when you think about it. ISIS can kill us in our own streets but we can’t be bothered to respond with anything more than a few drone strikes. This will likely go on for years. And in 2018, BBC will still ask:
“Why does IS destroy ancient history?”
and others will ask:
“Why is IS still able to murder folks worldwide?”
Any of the aforementioned owners of Palmyra have history’s answer. We’re just not listening.
Coming soon to an ISIS snuff video near you