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27 APRIL 2013

How and when Muslim societies will move away from seeing violence as a resolution to human conflict

"This week the minaret of one of Syria's most beautiful mosques was destroyed in the northern city of Aleppo. The Ummayad mosque established in 715 was rebuilt in 1159 after being damaged by a fire and then built again a century later after the Mongol invasion. The oldest surviving part was the minaret and both the State forces and the rebels accuse each other of its destruction. Lying in the Old City, the mosque is a Unesco world heritage site but has become part of the wider devastation of Syria's rich cultural heritage; a Crusader castle and Roman ruins in the ancient city of Palmyra have also been damaged.

However sad this physical destruction of history and art is, it should matter less to us than the recent reports that some 70,000 lives have been lost in this terrible civil war with hundreds of thousands more displaced. This is a war which is gradually ripping the country apart but about which the rest of the world doesn't seem to know what to do. Yet there is a different poignancy to the loss of a country's artistic and cultural past. It is these visual artifacts, building and ruins which speak to us of a country's history, its collective memory, the love and passion of the people who make a piece of land into a nation state. That so many Syrians are now killing each other and destroying ruins and religious sites poses the disturbing question, what exactly is still held sacred in so many part of the Muslim world?

A couple of weeks ago I returned from a short break to Istanbul. The area surrounding the majestic Hagia Sophia and the Blue mosque is also a Unesco world heritage site, tourists wander freely, the buildings stand sublime, the contested past of the place breathing its religious spirit into a refashioned, modern and vibrant city. But I wonder whether the preservation of history is only meaningful in countries where there is the preservation of peace, where people can enjoy the ordinariness of life, where there is order and purpose and we have the luxury of self reflection.

Earlier this week the former Met commissioner sir Ian Blair said societies choose what kind of violence they will tolerate. Looking across to so many part of the Islamic world where there is civil war, state violence and individual acts of terror, I wonder how and when Muslim societies will move away from seeing violence as a resolution to human conflict. When God is great is uttered as people and buildings are blown up what kind of God have so many created in their hearts and minds? The destruction of the minaret is not just a physical destruction but a tragic metaphor for a nation's soul."

(Mona Siddiqui, 26 April 2013, BBC Radio 4: Thought for the Day)

Fig.1 At left, the damaged Umayyad mosque in the northern city of Aleppo, Syria, on Wednesday 24 April 2013; at right, the view of the mosque with the minaret intact on 6 March 2013. (AP) [http://www.wbur.org/npr/178906558/minaret–of–iconic–syrian–mosque–destroyed–in–fighting].

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TAGS

1159 • 715 • Aleppo • ancient city • architectural feature • artistic past • BBC Radio 4 • blown up • Blue mosque • building and ruinscivil warcollective memory • Crusader castle • Crusadescultural heritagecultural heritage sitescultural past • destroying • destructiondevastationgod • Hagia Sophia • historic preservation • history and art • human conflict • Ian Blair • individual acts of terror • Islamic mosque • Islamic world • Metropolitan Police • minaret • Minaret of the Bride • Mona Siddiqui • Mongol invasion • mosque • Muslim societies • Muslim world • order and purpose • ordinariness of life • Palmyra • physical destructionpreservation • preservation of history • preservation of peace • religious sites • Roman ruins • ruinssacred • self reflection • self-reflection • state violence • SyriaThought for the Day • tragic metaphor • Umayyad Mosque • UNESCO • UNESCO World Heritage site • violencevisual artefactswomen in cultural theorywonders of the ancient world • world heritage site • world heritage sites

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
06 AUGUST 2012

Crete travel promotion to allay fears about the Greek financial crisis

"Crete Island, the cradle of European Civilization, and its friendly people wish you a nice staying! We promise that you will have an unforgettable Mediterranean travelling experience, whether you are visiting Crete for the first time or you are a regular visitor. This is the place where you can relax or discover the mountains, the sea, the towns and the countryside. Live the heartbeat of the Island from dawn to dusk. Discover your Crete!

Το Νησί μας και οι φιλόξενοι κάτοικοί του σας εύχονται καλή διαμονή στο λίκνο του Ευρωπαϊκού Πολιτισμού. Για σας που έρχεστε πρώτη φορά, για σας που μας επισκέπτεσθε τακτικά για ξεκούραση ή για να ανακαλύψετε τις αμέτρητες, φανερές και κρυμμένες ομορφιές της Κρήτης σε βουνά και θάλασσες, στις πόλεις και στην ύπαιθρο, υποσχόμαστε φιλόξενη και αξέχαστη, μεσογειακή διαμονή."

(Regional Unit of Crete, 2012)

Fig. "The island of Crete – See for yourself, Feel for yourself", Official tourism spot of Region of Crete. Created for the Greek island of Crete by Teo Papadoulakis.

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TAGS

2012advertisementadvertising images • Agios Nikolaos • allay fears • archaeological sitesAthensausterity measuresawareness raising • Chania • Crete • Crete Island • cultural heritage sitesdebt crisisEuropean Union • feel for yourself • financial crisis • friendly people • GreeceGreek financial crisis • Greek island of Crete • Heraclion • Heraklion • Ierapetra • Iraklion • island • island of Crete • Mediterranean • official tourism spot • online advertising • Region of Crete • Regional Unit of Crete • Rethymno • see for yourself • Sitia • Teo Papadoulakis • tourismtourism destinationtravel and leisuretravel promotion • travel trade • travelling experience • visitor • welcoming tourism • world heritage sites

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
30 JUNE 2012

The Google World Wonders Project

"From the archaeological areas of Pompeii to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, Google's World Wonders Project aims to bring to life the wonders of the modern and ancient world.

By using our Street View technology, Google has a unique opportunity to make world heritage sites available to users across the globe. Street View is a hugely popular feature of Google Maps which is already available in dozens of countries. It allows users to virtually explore and navigate a neighborhood through panoramic street–level images. With advancements in our camera technologies we can now go off the beaten track to photograph some of the most significant places in the world so that anyone, anywhere can explore them.

Street View has already proved a real hit for tourists and avid virtual explorers. The World Wonders Project also presents a valuable resource for students and scholars who can now virtually discover some of the most famous sites on earth. The project offers an innovative way to teach history and geography to students all over the world.

Our World Wonders Project is also supported by a broad, connected suite of other Google technologies, bringing wonders of the world within reach of an unprecedented global audience. The project website also provides a window to 3D models, YouTube videos and photography of the famous heritage sites.

Together with partners including UNESCO, the World Monuments Fund and Cyark, the World Wonders Project is preserving the world heritage sites for future generations."

(Google Inc., 31 May 2012)

Fig.1 Published on 19 Mar 2012 by "worldwonders".

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TAGS

20123D modelsaccessiblearchaeological sitesbring to lifecultural artefactscultural heritagecultural heritage sitesculture online • CyArk • digitally preserveexplore • famous heritage sites • famous sites • future generations • geography resource • Getty Images • global audience • Google (GOOG) • Google Cultural Institute • Google MapsGoogle Street View • Google technologies • Googles World Wonders Project • heritage • heritage sites • Hiroshima • Hiroshima Peace Memorial • historic sites • historical significance • history resource • immersive panoramaKew Gardens • Kyoto temples • learning resourceneighbourhood • Ourplace • panorama • panoramic street-level images • places of significance • Pompeii • resource for students • Steve Crossan • Stonehenge • Street View • Street View technology • StreetView • teaching geography • teaching historytourismUNESCO • virtual explorers • virtual heritage • virtual tourism • virtually explore and navigate • wonders of the ancient world • wonders of the modern and ancient world • wonders of the modern world • wonders of the world • worldworld heritage sites • World Monuments Fund • World Wonders Project

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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