Al-Asadd was a hero in the face of ISIS tyranny

Wars bring out the worst and the best in people. We read recently how it can bring out the best in the most dark of situations like what happened to Dr Aidan MacCarthy during World War II, when in the RAF in Singapore he, along with thousands of others, was captured and held as a Prisoner of War for four years in Japanese camps. 

Al-Asadd was a hero in the face of ISIS tyranny

He survived the second atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki. He saved the life of the Japanese commander and the guards from being killed when his final PoW camp was liberated. His story is told in the documentary ‘A Doctor’s Sword’ re-released this month for the 70th anniversary of the end of the war.

Another example of strength under immense pressure is Khaled al-Asaad. A respected antiquities expert in his native Syria, where tragically he lost his life this month when beheaded for not revealing where he put some 2,000-year-old, and older, antiquities in safe places from theft.

His family pleaded with him to leave the city of Palmyra, but he said his conscience could not leave the artefacts to their possible destruction in the war-torn country. He was taken twice and questioned, believed tortured, before being dragged out to a public square and beheaded. He was 81. He was Director of Antiquities at the museum of Palmyra until he retired in 2003. One said of him that you can’t write about Palmyra’s history or anything to do with Palmyra’s work without mentioning him.

What ISIS is doing is depressing.

Mary Sullivan

College Road


More in this section

Cookie Policy Privacy Policy FAQ Help Contact Us Terms and Conditions

© Irish Examiner Ltd