Palle Veje Rasmussen
Danish philosopher and high-school-teacher

Gaza’s cultural heritage is irreplaceable

When the cultural heritage of Gaza is destroyed, we all lose something irreplaceable. At the heart of the conflict raging in Gaza is a quiet tragedy unfolding alongside the immediate humanitarian crisis. It is a tragedy that affects not only those directly involved, but all of humanity. The pre-Roman port city of Anthedon, churches, including the 5th-century Saint Porphyrius, and a number of mosques including Gaza’s oldest mosque, the Great Omari Mosque, have suffered the ravages of conflict. These places are not only building blocks of Gaza’s history, but also of the world’s cultural and historical heritage. This destruction of cultural heritage in Gaza is therefore not just a side story in a longer conflict; it is a critical matter that deserves our full attention.

The Palestinians’ loss of cultural heritage is a loss for us all, a gap in our shared cultural and historical consciousness. It is not just about preserving old stones and buildings, but about protecting our collective history and humanity.

Every stone that crumbles and every monument that falls represents an irreplaceable part of our shared human history. It’s not just about the physical structures, but about the stories, traditions and cultures they represent.

The destruction of such priceless cultural treasures is an alarming example of how war not only wipes out contemporary lives and societies, but also erases links to our past. Anthedon, Saint Porphyrius’ Church, and the Great Omari Mosque are testimony to the region’s rich and diverse history, a history that tells of man’s ability to create, worship, and live together in peaceful periods. By destroying these sites, we are not only destroying Palestinian heritage, but world heritage.

Cultural heritage is an indispensable part of people’s identity, stories to each other and history, which should also be protected for the sake of future generations. This kind of destruction is not just a crime against the Palestinian people; it is a crime against humanity and of course falls under the Hague Convention.

About the Author
I’m a Danish philosopher, have been written a book about formation in the high school-education system.