Statement of ISIS Destruction of Cultural Heritage from AIC Board President, Pamela Hatchfield

It is with great horror and sadness that we learn about the continuing destruction of mosques, shrines, churches, temples, historic sites, and cultural treasures in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere. This senseless destruction is fueled by the misguided notion that we are not bound by a common humanity, empathy, and intelligence. These heinous acts cause us to consider the critical importance of cultural heritage – it is our shared history, and the act of destroying it is an attempt to destroy the identities of not only the cultures and religions it represents, but also the rich diversity of the evolution of humankind. Even worse, the treasures not destroyed are being sold to finance the continuing efforts of ISIS. The deliberate destruction of cultural heritage at Nimrud, Mosul, Hatra, and elsewhere is considered cultural genocide. The current obliteration of heritage in Iraq has been described by UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova as a war crime which cannot be tolerated. We call to action all the nations of the world who ratified the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in the Event of Armed Conflict.
What can we do? Contact your senators and members of congress and ask them to support the Hague Convention.
– Pam Hatchfield, AIC President