Images of the systematic destruction of archaeological sites and art pieces in Syria are no news any more, but I was especially saddened to see before/after aerial pictures of Palmyra's site today, which demonstrate how the beautiful temple of Bel has been completely destroyed by explosives. A picture of the temple is shown below.
Before I lament this latest loss, however, let me get one thing straight: as much as I love art and art history, I think we give too much importance to these acts of vandalism in our media, compared to the almost null attention we pay to the daily tragedies of peoples in war zones, especially when there are no economical interests of our own in the matter. It is hard to admit it, but the suffering and death of civilians in Syria and elsewhere usually do not change our lives in any way, while the loss of a temple means we will have one less beautiful archaeological site to visit when we retire.
Anyway, the aerial picture which shows how the temple has been wiped out is below. I must say I would have expected to see a pile of rubble in place of the temple in the bottom portion of the picture, while there is no evidence of any remains - the doubt that a picture has been photoshopped to remove the temple still lingers around in my mind, but if all media claim that the picture is genuine, I tend to believe it this time, leaving conspiracy theories to some other time.
To summarize my feelings upon reading today's news on this matter, I should say that I am pissed off, and at the same time I feel ashamed as I do seem to care more about a few rocks piled up on top of one another than about the suffering of an entire people. Admittedly this is not a good way to start the week.
Bel's Temple In Palmyra Is No More