Sir Simon Jenkins at Future Cities Forum
Preserving the most precious monuments of the past for our future cities was eloquently talked about at our Future Cities Forum on 6th March at IET, London by Sir Simon Jenkins.
The former Times newspaper and Evening Standard editor and current columnist was invited to talk about the necessity of preserving historic monuments for generations to come in the war damaged cities of the Middle East..
A second ISIS occupation of Palmyra has just led Syrians to discover afresh the destruction brought to the ancient city. Millions of people have been displaced during the six year conflict in Syria and more than 400,000 people killed including Palmyra's museum director in 2015, Khaled al-Asaad, who would not tell ISIS where precious artefacts had been moved.
Some archaeologists believe that the city could be re-built after stabilisation to those monuments left standing. Much has been smashed completely or desecrated - there is only one arch surviving of the Temple of Bel for instance and the façade of the amphitheatre in Palmyra is heavily damaged.
Sir Simon Jenkins talked of his concern that 'the cult of the new' might mean that cities like Palmyra will not be restored and therefore lost for future generations.