Culture Wars

Is IS benefiting from the commodification of culture?

By Jonathan T.D. Neil

ISIS releases images of explosives and the destruction of the ancient Palmyra temple of Baalshamin, August 2015 ISIS releases images of explosives and the destruction of the ancient Palmyra temple of Baalshamin, August 2015

We know that the Islamic State or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh, or whatever we want to call these organised Islamist mass-murderers, are interested in at least two things: money and culture. The former they want to accumulate and the latter they want to destroy. Before the attacks in Paris, the culture that IS took pleasure in destroying belonged largely to the rich legacy of Mesopotamia and its ancient history. We know that 2,000-year-old Greco-Roman temples and structures, many from…

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