Countless times that have allowed for museums like the

    Countless pieces of art have been destroyed or looted over history,
especially during war times. Many political and religious artifacts have been
targeted victims for the careless destruction of art. This reckless disregard
for our art has greatly affected the efficiency at which we are able to
proficiently learn and teach about past cultures and their rich history. The
destruction of art from past cultures restricts us from learning about the
history of not only ancient civilizations that still exist today but
civilizations such as Summer who have died off. This makes it vital for us to
protect art despite the fact that it may belong to a certain religion or
political regime, especially during dangerous war times. War times have become
a yielding and attractive time for art to be not only looted but destroyed and
vandalized. This art is not only vulnerable to hands-on vandalism but is
susceptible to bombs and new warfare technology as well. This makes it an
undemanding time as ever for art to be ravaged during war and times of
political unrest.

    The
copious loss of artifacts and history has taken a toll on the amount of
information we are able to adequately supply to our educators and students
about past eras in history. There have been conflicts in relatively recent
times that have allowed for museums like the Iraq National Museum and the Kabul
Museum to be looted and vandalized. This destruction is not only popular in
physical works of art, but literary works of art as well. This was observed in
1922 when the Sarajevo national library was burnt down during a war by Serb
shelling. These are minuscule examples of the great loss of art we have lost
over history. In light of this great loss, there has been a political movement
in order to fuel the global protection of art during times of civil unrest.

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    In
1954 The Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the event
of Armed Conflict was held. As the name suggests, this convention was held in
order to assemble a protocol and awareness for the protection of cultural
artifacts in times of conflict. Out of this convention came the symbol of the
blue shield for the worldwide indicator of cultural artifacts and property who
are in need of protection. A committee called the “Blue Shield” or the USCBS
was formed in 2006 in response to the looting of the National Museum in Bagdad.
This committee formed a mission statement whose goal is to protect the heritage
that is tangible and may be immobile like monuments, libraries, and museums
during times of conflict.

    In
order to protect this art, the United States military and government have
started to communicate during times of conflict. This push for communication
has become not only local but a worldwide phenomenon.  The government has even prepared and started
to maintain a list of volunteers that would be able to assist in providing aid
to the protection of art during a conflict. These lists are similar to the
lists that were started in the 1930s by European Museums that started to log
the artifacts they had in preparation to wartimes. These logs not only
contained the artifacts but ways to transport the precious art and where they
would most likely be safe from the destruction of the war. Many museums, such
as the Louvre during world war two have had to evacuate their artifacts during
a war and have sent the art to remote and safer locations.

 Training
for troops to expand their knowledge of where art is located and how to protect
it the best we can has become a priority across the globe in lure of saving the
historical artifacts we have left. During times of war, troops have also been
specially assembled in order to salvage as much cultural heritage as possible.
The Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA) were comprised of the United
States military as the Army Civil Affairs Division. The MFFA was comprised of
professionals who could identify and restore important cultural artifacts.
These were people who were once museum professionals and often art historians
who had previously spent some amount of time in the United States military in
some way. These officers were able to enter liberated towns and would aid in
the salvaging of cultural artifacts. After times of war, such as after World
War two, these officers were to research and send the artifacts back to their
place of origin that they had originally belonged to.

    Often
the reason for the destruction of these artifacts is the patronage they pay to
a religious or political subject. There are ample examples of destruction of
religious idols in every Country. Some of the world’s most well-known pieces
have been destroyed simply because of their religious or political background.
For example, the world’s two largest Buddha statues stood over one hundred
fifty feet tall when they were destroyed by the Taliban. These monuments, like
many others, had survived over one thousand seven hundred years just to be
carelessly destroyed. In 2015 videos of ISIL fighters were posted and depicted
the three-thousand-year-old statues of the Mosul Museum being destroyed by
hammers. These fighters did not stop at the museum but also have inflicted
massive damage onto the very well-known Ziggurat of Ur in Iraq as well.

    The
destruction of these religious and political artifacts and buildings affect our
society today. These historical artifacts have been left behind and studied in
order to gain perspective and pay tribute to the past eras who came before us.
Through this knowledge, we can not only learn about our past but about our
future and the mistakes we should not make. For example, Hitler widely used
propaganda to further his agenda and regime. In light of this, many people have
grown weary of political figures who extensively use propaganda to threaten and
symbolize their power over a group of people or territory. By studying these
artifacts of history we can not only learn from our mistakes but see how we
have improved and changed from generation to generation and gain a better and
more complex understanding of ourselves. This destruction not only effects the
people who see the artifacts every day and may have a personal or religious
connection with them but affects all the future generations as well. They now
will not get a chance to first hand further their knowledge of the artifacts
and history more extensively than what has already been written.

    The
political and religious beliefs of the time, although prevalent, may change
over time as we have seen throughout mankind’s whole history. The destruction
of past history portrays to future generations the idea that cultural artifacts
are temporary and if the artifact is not prevalent or shows personal meaning it
has no meaning. Many would agree that it is important that artwork from the
present time should not be destroyed because they share personal ties. Similarly,
in this way, we should protect and preserve the art of past times because those
people had personal and prevalent ties to themselves as well. This will allow
us to observe the cycles over history and how we as a people have evolved over
time with beliefs both politically and religiously. 

   
However, in many cases, this political or religious art may be destroyed
because it is deemed offensive in today’s fast-changing society and culture. In
this case, these artifacts should still be protected and preserved, but in a
space that respects the people and society. Putting offensive artifacts into a
museum cannot only preserve them but their history as well. By destroying the
artifact, we destroy the memory and time that artifact represents and restrain
ourselves from further learning from the mistakes of the past. This will
preserve our history from eras before us with dignity in a safe learning
environment that will allow the society to feel both respected and open to
learn from the past.

    These
two concepts of the protection of art and the conservation of past art go hand
in hand in society. In order to protect our artifacts, we must also be able to
see the importance and validity of them in our present day. This means that we
must not only protect our art during times of war but protect them on a day to
day basis in order to keep their meaning alive. Many pieces of art have been
destroyed due to the simple lack of restoration or care they need on a daily
basis. Earthquakes have taken countless monuments and artifacts due to the
neglect that the structure has experienced over past years. An earthquake in
Nepal is said to account for thirty-five percent of missing monuments in India
alone. The lack of knowledge surrounding the care of artifacts has been
decreasing due to the Blue Shield and its goal to raise public awareness to the
importance of the cultural artifacts we still do have.

    In
Conclusion, we have been making strides in the way of protecting art worldwide
during times of political unrest and preserving this art to benefit the later
generations. This is crucial in order to keep our history from repeating the
same mistakes we may have made in the past and to see how to better evolve as a
society and civilization. This will not only allow us to better ourselves but
to benefit the future generations as well so that they can learn the importance
of preserving their own history for generations that may come after them. The
goal is to have the rich historical heritage for further generations to learn
from and build on. This will allow progress for the human race as a whole as we
better ourselves from the mistakes that were made before us today. We should
continue to build on the work we have done with the Blue Shield and around the
globe to better preserve our history, despite its political or religious merits
that it may have.

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