Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I Never Thought I'd Ever Feel Sorry For The Shia', But...

In Memoriam: the Askariya shrine of the Golden Mosque, Samarra, Iraq.

What an astounding atrocity... If this doesn't bring the oft-rumored "moderate" Muslims out and on our side, then they don't exist.

And yes, this is an atrocity. It's a blessing no one was killed and everything, but the destruction of this 1100 year old artifact is an atrocity against civilization and history. The Abbassid civilization is not my civilization, of course, but it is, or was, a civilization. So vandalism like this gives me a sympathetic shiver. I got the same second-hand chill with the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan, six years ago. It is the mark of the barbarian to destroy what he cannot comprehend, said Arthur C. Clarke in 2001: A Space Odyssey. And Samuel Johnson said that it was a poor soul indeed who could not feel a surge of patriotism on the plains of Marathon, or of piety among the ruins of Iona. I rather like pondering the grand mosques of the world. It's a good way of appreciating the highest aesthetic achievements of the Islamic vision, without having to deal with the messy rest of it.

At least now maybe we won't get so much sanctimonious flack from the left-wing Voices Of Compassion®, whenever our troops ding the plaster of minarets from which they are taking hostile fire.

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