What is there to say about the never ending Islamic State horrors being reported out of Syria? Clearly the soldiers of ISIS are equal-opportunity oppressors, when it comes to the lives and cultures of religious minorities unfortunate enough to cross their path.
When it comes to crushing truly ancient, irreplaceable wonders linked to the lives and histories of apostates, the ISIS jihadists may view one ruin or sanctuary as the same as the next.
The same, however, cannot be said of how most American journalists view these horrors. Apparently, some travesties are more important than others. Things are quite different on the other side of the Atlantic, however.
Right now, for example, journalists on both sides of the pond are -- as they should -- devoting quite a bit of coverage to the destruction of a priceless ruin in Palmyra. These was the news insiders had been fearing for weeks, especially after the shocking and disgraceful beheading of antiquities expert Khalid al-Asaad.
This solid Washington Post report -- pointing to the BBC -- was typical:
The Islamic State has reportedly destroyed another significant landmark in the ancient city of Palmyra, Syria.
The temple of Baal Shamin stood for nearly two millennia, honoring the Phoenician god of storms and rain, as the BBC reported. Destruction of the site would be directly in line with the Islamic State’s campaign not just against people of other faiths, but against their culture.
“Oh Muslims, these artifacts that are behind me were idols and gods worshipped by people who lived centuries ago instead of Allah,” one militant said of antiquities in Mosul, Iraq, earlier this year. After the Islamic State captured Palmyra in May, Baal Shamin seems to have fallen to the group’s philosophy.
As I said, this is major news that deserved solid coverage. We've been dealing with the complexities of these topics for weeks, as in this Ira post.
However, did you hear about the destruction of the irreplaceable frescos and sanctuaries at the Mar Elian monastery? The possible slaughter of its abbot and inhabitants? The desecration of the tomb and the remains of St. Elian?
If you are a newspaper reader in America, there is no chance that you heard about this event. On the other side of the Atlantic? Your odds were much, much better. Here are some details from The Express:
ISLAMIC STATE (ISIS) fighters have bulldozed a 1,600-year-old Christian monastery after abducting and reportedly slaughtering its inhabitants.
The twisted terror group today released a video showing its barbaric militants razing the ancient Mar Elian monastery to the ground, even digging up and desecrating the bones of a Christian saint. There were reports that fighters had also kidnapped the monastery's abbot, Father Jacques Mouraud and a church volunteer, Botros Hanna, who are both now feared dead.
Earlier this month ISIS abducted up to 250 Christians from the monastery and its surrounding villages, many of whom were women and children.
In the sick video the terrorists can be seen gleefully removing the remains of Saint Elian, after whom the monastery was named, from their ancient stone sarcophagus. The church is said to have been built on the spot where Saint Elian died after he was killed by his father, a Roman officer, for refusing to denounce his faith.
It was a popular pilgrim site with Christians throughout the Middle East and housed Roman frescos which were amongst the oldest paintings in the region.
BBC covered the story as well, which is about as mainstream as coverage gets in Europe and around the world.
Are American journalists, at this point, beginning to suffer from ISIS fatigue? Or are some ancient treasures simply more newsworthy than others?