Yesterday, Reaktion very kindly sent on to me Robert Bevan's excellent looking The Destruction of Memory. Just now I read, via the Distributed Presses blog, of an article by Robert Bevan in the Sydney Morning Herald:
Bevan argues that ... attacks on cultural and religious sites are "double attacks" on a society's foundations, "This is not collateral damage. It can be an attempt to destabilise a society or, where memories, history, and identity are attached to architecture and place, to enforce forgetting." In addition to the destruction of the Golden Mosque by unknown forces, Bevan's editorial provides various examples of different factions' uses of architecture in Iraq: the Shiite Mahdi Army's occupation of the Imam Ali Shrine in Najaf in order to gain protection from the U.S forces, who knew that attacking the shrine would be unforgivable in the eyes of the Shiite population; the reprisals from Shiite groups toward Sunni mosques following the destruction of the Golden Dome; the U.S. military's use and disregard of historical sites, its militarily worthless "Shock and Awe" method, and its general failure to protect Iraq's heritage sites from looting and destruction.