October 23, 2012

Alert: destruction of 8000 year-old engravings in Morocco by Fundamentalists - government denies

The Amazigh League for Human Rights denounced the destruction of several Neolithic engravings in Toubkal National Park, south of Marakesh. Among the damaged art is said to be a depiction of the Sun as a god. They date from c. 6000 BCE.

Source and more details: BBC (h/t Stone Pages' Archaeonews).

The damaged relic (source)


Update: the Government of Morocco denies the claim with strange wording

The Moroccan authorities have denied the claim of a vandalism against a solar engraving attributed to Fundamentalists. According to an AFP report:

"This kind of incident, contrary to our values, cannot take place in Morocco," it said, adding that an investigation carried out with local and regional authorities had showed that the claims were unfounded.

But such sites "can suffer, like elsewhere, the effects of natural and even human degradation, sometimes through vandalism and trafficking."

The wording is at the very least strange: the logic does not seem sound (can't happen because of our values) and the suggestion of other reasons for the same vandalism are at the very least suspicious. 

My reading is that the Moroccan Ministry of Culture wishes to deny all kind of militant Salafist activism but that, subtly, acknowledges the destruction, attributing it to mystery causes (either erosion or mindless vandalism) rather than Fundamentalism. 

Not too credible. 


Update (Oct 25):

Dalouh (see comments) has been gathering some more info on the matter from Arabic language sources in Facebook and it would seem that the locals chased out the fundamentalist vandals preventing greater damage, still:

Above: damage stone, below: original

11 comments:

  1. Bloody vandals. I was reasonably sympathetic towards the Taliban in Afghanistan until they blew the Buddha statues in Bamiyan up. I am now opposed to any form of religious fundamentalism. Madmen, the lot of them.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Marruecos desmiente que salafistas hayan agredido estela solar preislámica. http://noticias.lainformacion.com/arte-cultura-y-espectaculos/arqueologia/marruecos-desmiente-que-salafistas-hayan-agredido-estela-solar-preislamica_qbyMvOV9rHCG75jAScdM74/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmm... not sure what to think because the "evidence" that Morocco gives is the kind of that politician from pre-Bolivarian Venezuela who said that there were no tortures because it was forbidden in the constitution, the kind of pseudo-logic that does not make any sense.

      But I'll echo the denial as soon as I find an English language source.

      Delete
    2. I found a source (AFP, see update) and the carefully chosen wording of the Moroccan Ministry seems to say that the stone has been destroyed but that it was not Salafists but... er, uh... whatever else.

      Delete
  3. hi Maju.
    this is what I found at Kabyle.com (French)

    http://www.kabyle.com/fr/yagour-la-stele-qui-serait-lorigine-du-vrai-nom-du-maroc-20993-21102012.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The pic is better quality but the article only speaks about the supposed relation of the Sun God, i.e. the equivalent to the Egyptian Ra, with monotheism and Allah, claiming that Morocco's name is related to it. It may be interesting for a debate but does not give any info on the health of the artwork as such.

      Delete
  4. Morocco has occupied Western Sahara for 36 years. It's foolish to expect a regime that has committed ethnic cleansing and keeps up an occupation to protect cultural relics with which the regime doesn't identify with.

    ReplyDelete
  5. this is what I found :

    http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/553456_447580291954762_981208790_n.jpg

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Has it source?

      It is difficult to discern the apparently recent damage (clearer colors, red circles) from the pre-existent (?) damage in the larger picture.

      Delete
  6. the picture was from a Facebook page written in Arabic,it says that the government is lying(protecting Salafists) and that the act of vandalism did occur , and if it wasn't for some locals who chased the vandals, the damage could have been greater...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alright, thanks. I'll update with that info.

      Delete

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