Not Signed-In
Which clippings match 'Ancient City' keyword pg.1 of 1
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].

1

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
13 DECEMBER 2012

Journey (Video Game)

"The studio describes it as an interactive parable, the story of a lone traveller and their path through life told in the form of a voyage that starts in the vast expanses of a desert and ends ... well, to tell you how it ends would spoil it. You think you know what Journey is going to be about after the first five minutes, but you don't. I came to it expecting something charming, visually stunning and perhaps even mildly edifying. I left thinking that it may well be, in many ways, the best video game I have ever played.

You play a traveller swaddled in red robes, beginning atop a desert sand dune with a view of a shining mountain on the horizon. You're given no direction; instead you're guided by the natural impulse to move towards that looming, distant beacon. Control is intentionally simple and unobtrusive; you can only walk, jump and sing, but Journey still crafts some astounding scenarios from those bare gameplay ingredients. It has you surfing down sand dunes in the fading light, scaling towers, flying on the wind and cowering in underground ruins as you slowly uncover what could have happened to the civilisation that must have once lived there."

(Keza MacDonald, 13 March 2012, The Guardian)

1
2

3

4

5

TAGS

2012abandoned ruinsancient cityatmospheric presence • Austin Wintory • barren land • beacon • clothcontinuous • crevice • cutscene • desertdesolate space • endless desert • environment as antagonist • float through the air • floating in spaceflyinggame worldheros journeyhorizonindie game • interactive parable • Journey (2012) • lone traveller • mountain • musical chime • natural impulse • open worldPlaystation 3quest • reach the summit • redrobe • robed figure • ruins • sand dune • scarf • smooth spacesnowSony Computer Entertainmentstone • Thatgamecompany • timelessnesstower • underground ruins • video gamevoyagewindwordless

CONTRIBUTOR

Guannan (cassie) Du
Sign-In

Sign-In to Folksonomy

Can't access your account?

New to Folksonomy?

Sign-Up or learn more.