UNESCO confirms ISIL is partially funded by the sale of ancient Artifacts. These items, culturally significant, will enter the Black Market, robbing cultures of their own history.
The funding of terrorism and its complexities is an important topic. Moreover, it’s the root of the evil – and maybe the most important aspect of terrorism. It’s extremely difficult to accomplish any feats without funding them. ISIL and Al-Qaeda aren’t paying themselves at every turn. People are backing them, financially. In a way, these are the worst perpetrators because they enabling this massive destructive beast from afar.
These financiers are not experiencing the realities they are helping create. The Black Market and those in it are complicit in terrorism. In fact, it helps them. Nation states are indirectly involved, as well as Salafi clerics throughout the Arab world. It’s a toss up between people with no direct contribution but in some way contribute to those who knowingly help jihadis. How else can ancient Assyrian tablets suddenly end up in european cities?
Recently, UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, announced a direct relationship between the selling of artifacts and the funding of terrorism. Specifically the funding of the Islamic State. This is going on all over the globe. Fine and rare antiquities and culturally valuable items are on sale virtually everywhere. But, it’s a niche group of patrons and they host selective events. The average collector has never attended a high art sale.
At the end of the film “Taken”, we saw human trafficked women eventually put on auction at a similar event. There’s no doubt this is not far from the truth. The Black Market is real and an undercurrent of global society.
Artnet news covered the development. “UNESCO has warned that ISIS is looting and selling ancient artifacts on the black market to finance their terrorist activities,” the AFP reported. These latest findings contribute to growing evidence that ISIS continues to raise money by selling stolen antiquities (see “Is ISIS Bankrolling Terrorist Activities With Stolen Antiquities?”).
The extremists have also destroyed shrines and churches throughout the country (see “ISIS Destroying Iraq’s Cultural Heritage One Site at a Time”), including the Nabi Yunus shrine in Mosul, the tomb of the Prophet Jonah which was revered by Muslims as well as Christians (see “ISIS Militants Demolish Jonah’s Tomb in Iraq”). “There were explosions that destroyed buildings dating back to the Assyrian era,” Baghdad Museum Director Qais Rashid lamented.
ISIS is destroying history and culture, trampling on whatever they perceive as in their way. They do not respect the past unless it’s representative of their idealogy. They do not respect the value of life if it doesn’t fit their model. Their destruction is inevitable but the cancer they’ve created will continue to grow in the underbelly of the world, just as these artifacts will swirl around the Black Market, lost.
Featured image courtesy of Voactiv.