I have been waiting for a while to write this post; mainly because I have been trying to choose the most appropriate time. It almost came a few weeks ago, when we all received the fantastic news that ISIS has finally been kicked out of Palmyra.
Even then, I still decided to hold off until the Institute for Digital Archaeology unveiled their 3D printed reconstruction of Palmyra’s Arch of Triumph in Trafalgar Square in London.
It is in many ways only a small victory. ISIS may be out of Palmyra, but as usual, they have left destruction and at least one mass grave behind them. Repairing the physical damage will only ever be a small comfort to the families of their victims, but I still agree with London’s mayor Boris Johnson that it stands “in defiance of the barbarians who destroyed the original.”
Simon Jenkins has phrased it even better. “What you destroy; we will rebuild” should always be our answer to organisations like ISIS. On a more personal level, I am delighted because the IDA’s work in using technology to repair the mistakes of the past is exactly in the spirt I envisaged for Oxbridge Luna’s Ancient Library Temporal Preservation Project in The Lost Libraries Archive. And, on an even more personal level, while I obviously cannot quite claim that I have just joined Jules Verne, H.G Wells, Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke in the exclusive club of science fiction writers who accurately predicted the future, I am going to be spending the next few weeks irritating anyone who will listen by cheerfully bragging about how I have just gotten one foot in the door.
Please donate to help the victims of ISIS here.