Heretic

February 29, 2020
John Holden

Cultural terrorism has existed throughout history. It is an attempt to eradicate a people’s shared identity and to rewrite history to serve the aggressor’s often distorted ideology. ‘Kill the culture, kill the voice’.

This piece was inspired by the tragic reports in 2015 of the destruction of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra by ISIS, and their brutal murder of Khaled al-Asaad, the 82-year-old Head of Antiquities at the site. Despite being interrogated for a month by the jihadis, Mr al-Assad refused to disclose where he had hidden some ancient treasures. He was subsequently beheaded in front of his family, his body was mutilated and hung from a column in the central square.

However, the song also contains a message of hope that, one day, displaced peoples can return to their homelands and way of life. Yet they remember the past and the terrible sacrifices people have made.

Empires rise and fall. Ideologies are replaced. But the healing power of love of endures.

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