[wwpoenglish] Fwd: Cultural Protection Appeal

  • From: María Cristina Azcona <mcrisazcona@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: wwpoenglish@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 23 May 2015 15:59:28 -0300

María Cristina Azcona


WWPO President founder

IFLAC Director in Central &South america

---------- Mensaje reenviado ----------
De: "rene.wadlow" <rene.wadlow@xxxxxxxxx>
Fecha: may 23, 2015 7:01 AM
Asunto: Cultural Protection Appeal
Para: <mcrisazcona@xxxxxxxxx>

Dear Maria, Since you use the Banner of Peace, I thought that you could
use this updated version of our appeal since now the ISIS forces have taken
the city. I am not sure how to get in touch with the ISIS to give this
appeal to reason. It a little bit like a message that one puts into a
bottle and throws out to sea. Thus the idea is to send it around as widely
as possible. Your help is appreciated, Rene

Palmyra: Protection of the Cultural Heritage of Humanity in Periods
of *Armed

*By René Wadlow*

In a May 15, 2015 message to Madame Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General,
the Association of World Citizens (AWC) highlighted its Appeal for a
Humanitarian Ceasefire in and around Palmyra, Syria, a UNESCO Heritage of
Humanity site.

On May 15, there was an intensification of fighting around Palmyra between
the forces of ISIS/Daesh and the Syrian Government. A humanitarian
ceasefire was an appropriate measure at that time. Now, it seems that the
ISIS/Daesh forces have taken control of the city and some of the area
around it. Thus, the AWC Appeal must be addressed to the leadership of the
ISIS/Daesh, although the AWC has no direct communication avenues to the
ISIS/Daesh leadership.

Palmyra is a rich contribution to the cultural heritage of all the Syrian
people, no matter to what political faction they may now belong. Moreover,
Palmyra is for all of humanity a moving example of trade routes such as the
Silk Road and cultural exchanges through the centuries. For some 400 years,
Palmyra was an important outpost of the Roman Empire, a link between the
Gulf and the Mediterranean.
[image: The ruins of the ancient city of Palmyra were designated a UNESCO
World Heritage site in 1980. Is ISIS/Daesh going to destroy such a place
which stands out as a jewel of history in the Middle East?]

The ruins of the ancient city of Palmyra were designated a UNESCO World
Heritage site in 1980. Is ISIS/Daesh going to destroy this site which
stands out as a jewel of history in the Middle East? (C) Encyclopaedia

We believe that if ISIS/Daesh wishes to be seen as a valid participant in
future negotiations concerning the future of Syria and Iraq, it must show
its willingness to respect world law. The protection of the cultural
heritage of humanity is an important element of world law binding on
States, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and individuals.

The AWC works in the tradition of the Roerich Peace Pact and its Banner of
Peace for the protection of cultural institutions.

Early efforts for the protection of educational and cultural institutions
were undertaken by Nicholas Roerich (1874-1947) a Russian and world
citizen. Nicholas Roerich had lived through the First World War and the
Russian Revolution and saw how armed conflicts can destroy works of art and
cultural and educational institutions. For Roerich, such institutions were
irreplaceable and their destruction was a permanent loss for all humanity.
Thus, he worked for the protection of works of art and institutions of
culture in times of armed conflict. Thus, he envisaged a
universally-accepted symbol that could be placed on educational
institutions in the way that a red cross had become a widely-recognized
symbol to protect medical institutions and medical workers.

Roerich proposed a “Banner of Peace” − three red circles representing the
past, present and future − that could be placed upon institutions and sites
of culture and education to protect them in times of conflict.
[image: The Banner of Peace once proposed by World Citizen Nicholas
Roerich.] <https://awcungeneva.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/palmyra_2.png>

The Banner of Peace once proposed by World Citizen Nicholas Roerich.

Roerich mobilized artists and intellectuals in the 1920s for the
establishment of this Banner of Peace. Henry A. Wallace, then the United
States Secretary of Agriculture and later Vice-President, was an admirer of
Roerich and helped to have an official treaty introducing the Banner of
Peace − the Roerich Peace Pact − signed at the White House on April 15,
1935 by 21 States in a Pan-American Union ceremony. At the signing, Henry
Wallace on behalf of the USA said “At no time has such an ideal been more
needed. It is high time for the idealists who make the reality of
tomorrow, to rally around such a symbol of international cultural unity.
It is time that we appeal to that appreciation of beauty, science,
education which runs across all national boundaries to strengthen all that
we hold dear in our particular governments and customs. Its acceptance
signifies the approach of a time when those who truly love their own nation
will appreciate in additions the unique contributions of other nations and
also do reverence to that common spiritual enterprise which draws together
in one fellowship all artists, scientists, educators and truly religious of
whatever faith.”

As Nicholas Roerich said in a presentation of his Pact “The world is
striving toward peace in many ways, and everyone realizes in his heart that
this constructive work is a true prophesy of the New Era. We deplore the
loss of libraries of Lou vain and Overdo and the irreplaceable beauty of
the Cathedral of Reims. We remember the beautiful treasures of private
collections which were lost during world calamities. But we do not want to
inscribe on these deeps any worlds of hatred. Let us simply say: Destroyed
by human ignorance − rebuilt by human hope.”

*Prof. René Wadlow is President and a Representative to the United Nations
Office at Geneva of the Association of World Citizens.*




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