The Destruction of Memory 12A

The Destruction of Memory
Rebuilding of Ferhadija Mosque, Banja Luka, Bosnia & Herzegovina Image: Derek Wiesehahn. © 2016 Vast Productions USA

The war against culture, and the battle to save it.

Over the past century, cultural destruction has wrought catastrophic results across the globe. This war against culture is not over - it's been steadily increasing. In Syria and Iraq, the ‘cradle of civilization’, millennia of culture are being destroyed. The push to protect, salvage and rebuild has moved in step with the destruction. Legislation and policy have played a role, but heroic individuals have fought back, risking and losing their lives to protect not just other human beings, but our cultural identity - to save the record of who we are.

Based on the book Robert Bevan, The Destruction of Memory tells the whole story - looking not just at the ongoing actions of Daesh (ISIS) and at other contemporary situations, but revealing the decisions of the past that allowed the issue to remain hidden in the shadows for so many years.

Featuring interviews with the former Director-General of UNESCO, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and a wide range of international experts and activists, the film highlights the destruction of cultural heritage in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere and argues that this destruction is not simply an consequence of conflict but rather a targeted, systematic effort to erase the cultures and identities of entire peoples – a war on culture that has, in fact, been waged for decades.

Presented in partnership with the University of Bristol's Institute for Advanced Studies and in association with the Bristol Festival of Ideas.

With an introduction and post screening Q&A with director Tim Slade.