One of the great experiences of my life was an exploration of the Middle East. Seven years ago, in 2008, Angela and I traveled through Jordan, Syria and Iran. We went to many of the great sites on antiquity. The three P's, Petra, Palmyra and Persepolis were the greatest, and Palmyra the greatest of the three.
I wrote up our experiences in another blog a-nutty-prof.blogspot.com, and went to look at it again today, to remind myself I wasn't dreaming. And there, indeed, was the pretty temple of Baal Shamaan.
Inside there was a tree growing that, we told ourselves, would surely one day destroy the temple.
We were wrong - today came the news that ISIS had done the ridiculous, they had blown up this ancient monument, which had survived since 150A.D. One has to ask what they thought they were doing, other than wasting a lot of explosives. Did the temple offend their sensibilities? Are they really so sensitive that the workmanship of the ancients makes them feel guilty? Belief is so irrational.
But today also brought the news that the British Embassy in Tehran had re-opened.
We were privileged to spend a few days there in 2008, and were amazed at its splendid grounds in a park in the middle of the city. The Brits were asked to leave a few years later, but now they are back. Something ISIS has yet to learn - the more things change, the more they remain the same!