What Isis destroy, we must rebuild

Perhaps we need censorship. The Isis vandals now destroying the greatest sites in ancient Mesopotamia have no care for history, so why do they bother? The answer is to get publicity. As with beheadings, they want to taunt us with their outrages. So why give them what they want, which is our obvious dismay? Why encourage more destruction?

To read of the loss of ancient monuments is heartbreaking. When they date from the dawn of western civilisation in the Mesopotamian valley, the pain is the greater. Nimrud, Hatra and Nineveh are 6,000-year-old bedrocks of our culture. Like the smashed statues in Mosul museum, their destruction tears at the roots of Eurasia’s shared identity. That identity may stay recorded in books, pictures, museums. But the continuity of place is lost. The narrative is snapped.