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Author Esra Akcan. As I am writing these words for this volume about the destruction of cultural heritage in the Middle East during the summer months of , Turkish soldiers and Kurdish guerrillas are shooting each other under the alibi of a new fight against ISIS, which signifies the sudden rupture of the approximately six-year-long process-to-peace within the Republic of Turkey.
If I was writing this text in , I could have cited the destruction of the buildings of Iraqi modernism in Baghdad as a result of the U. I probably could have referred to the destruction of the Palestinian villages in almost any year of my life. And, if I had lived for more than seventy years, I would have started the essay with the Hiroshima bombing, or the images of Auschwitz remains, or the destruction of the European cities to debris mountains by the end of the Second World War.
Imagine what a long list it would have been if I had lived for , , , or more years. A topic like the destruction of cultural heritage begs an essay that constantly circles around the same question, one that reflects on the constant repetition of the same and the constant return to the same action, an essay that figuratively replicates the cycles of destructions themselves.
How is it possible to condemn the destruction of cultural heritage in the Middle East and elsewhere meaningfully in the midst of such a complex web of vicious circles? There is no need to go over the twists and turns of the long history of monumentality and memory in architecture in this short essay. Perhaps there is no need to complicate these statements of criticism any further. Am I wrong to assume that they must explain the motives for destruction sufficiently well?
What I find harder and more meaningful, however, is to ask whether it is possible to condemn sincerely the destruction of cultural heritage in the Middle East and elsewhere if we do not at the same time condemn war and terror that lead to destruction, and, more importantly, question the state apparatus, the modern institutions, as well as the architectural values that lead to war, terror, and destruction in the first place.
However, Woolf hesitates before she donates her penny for peace.
She is asked to donate for peace as the daughter of an educated man, as an educated woman, the request says, so that more women will be able to attend colleges in the future. But, why educate women in institutions that are controlled by men who perpetuate war in the first place? Woolf writes:.
Let us then give up, for the moment, the effort to answer your question, how we can help you to prevent war, by discussing the political, the patriotic or the psychological reasons which lead you to go to war. Need we collect more facts from history and biography to prove our statement that all attempts to influence the young against war through education they receive at the universities must be abandoned? For do they not prove that education, the finest education in the world, does not teach the people to hate force, but to use it?
She will donate her guinea only on the condition that it will be used to change the patriarchal mindset in education, the manly approach that perpetuates war in the first place. Let me go back to my question: How is it possible to criticize meaningfully the destruction of cultural heritage in the Middle East, and to criticize war and terror that causes the destruction? What exactly is the benefit of condemning war, terror, and destruction of cultural heritage in the Middle East if we are to continue with our knowledge-sets, geopolitical categories, and institutions that lead to violence in the first place?
The clash-of-civilizations argument that has been invented to explain wars actually produces more clashes of civilizations and more wars. What accounts for a mournable heritage, a memorable monument, an edifice whose destruction can justifiably be condemned as distinct from others that go unnoticed? Memorials to unknown soldiers and empty graves for the enforced disappearances beg the same question that Judith Butler asked: What makes for a grievable life?
Why are there graves for citizens but none for those that are subject to enforced disappearance, as if these deaths are ungrievable?source url
Modernity as Perpetual War or Perpetual Peace?
These questions alert us to the fact that the ways in which the state apparatus exerts itself on dead bodies by making some death ungrievable might not be too different from the ways in which the cultural and educational institutions exert themselves on architecture by making some buildings unmemorable. Are we then not to question the current institutions and the art historical criteria that define the borders of what constitutes cultural heritage in the first place, if we are to criticize meaningfully its destruction in the Middle East and elsewhere? Ferdinand Hennerbichler.
Diplomatic Service. Bruno Kreisky Herbert Amry Helped to negotiate the release of some 60 other captives.
Editions of War and Peace in Kurdistan by Abdullah Öcalan
Bruno Kreisky and the late Ambassador Dr. Co - ordinated work of appr.
Co- operation with humanitarian EU- initiatives. Topic: EU- integration of Eastern Europe.
The Red Countess
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