While destruction of heritage sites during wartime can be attributed to collateral damage, it can also be damage intentionally caused to demoralize and insult the values and religious and cultural symbols of others.
We have decades of contemporary warfare memories where continued bombings have destroyed large swaths of ancient and contemporary historical sites. Examples coming to mind are the ancient city of Aleppo in Syria, the city of Dresden in World War II and now real-time reporting of heritage sites in Ukraine, including the Museum of Local History in the town of Ivankiv, set on fire by invading forces and burned to the ground, including 25 works by famous Ukrainian folk artist Maria Prymachenko; the stained-glass windows and decorative features of the Russian Orthodox Assumption Cathedral in Kharkiv reportedly destroyed; and a missile attack affecting the Babyn Yat Holocaust memorial in Kyiv. The Holocaust memorial site marks among the largest mass shootings of Jewish people during World War II.
Today’s images remind those of us in a generation who had family members who served during World War II; friends made here who survived the liberated death camps and proudly displayed tattooed forearms; of lives lost, civilization destroyed and cultural heritage erased.