The Destruction of Memory
Directed by Tim Slade • Documentary • 2016 • 85 minutes
The bombing of Sarajevo's National Library and the burning of its ancient books. The looting of the Iraqi National Museum and destruction of its priceless historical objects. The beheading of Kahled al-Asaad, long-time lead archaeologist for the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the city of Palmyra, Syria, for refusing to give up hidden artifacts. In the 'cradle of civilization' and beyond, the last century has seen the rise of 'cultural destruction': the intentional annihilation of irreplaceable artwork, artifacts, historical sites and their stewards in desperate attempts to erase collective history and identity. Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Tim Slate and narrated by Tony Award-winning actress Sophie Okonedo, this powerful documentary explores the loss of invaluable artwork, objects and historical sites through war and terrorism. It uses meticulous research and compelling expert interviews to examine how and why cultural destruction has happened, and how the work to protect, salvage and rebuild can respond. THE DESTRUCTION OF MEMORY introduces heroes who have risked their lives to protect not just other human beings, but their cultural identity, safeguarding the record of who we are. But all is not lost: as these stories are reported, perpetrators are brought to justice and awareness grows, the film proposes hope. Increasingly, the power of modern technology is being harnessed to document, protect, and to play a role in the rebuilding process. Distinguished international experts interviewed in THE DESTRUCTION OF MEMORY include Irina Bokova , Director-General of UNESCO; Fatou Bensouda , prosecutor for the International Criminal Court; Gunter Blobel , Nobel Laureate; Bonnie Burnham , President Emerita of the World Monuments Fund; Daniel Libeskind , architect; Dirk Moses ,...