Down the Memory Hole

In his book 1984, George Orwell introduced the Memory Hole: A chute in the Ministry of Truth that carried inconvenient documents to the building’s incinerator. The idea was, if the government could make talking about the past–the real past, not the party-approved story–illegal, and destroy all evidence of the real past, then they could completely control the remembered reality of the people.

This isn’t fiction. It’s happening right now, in Syria. DAESH (the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State, transliterated) is busy demolishing historical sites, so that there will be no evidence to counter their propaganistic historical narrative. So that there will be no evidence of the culture and religion that existed before Islam came to Syria and the Levant. Among all their other atrocities, they are doing their best to erase the history of the Middle East.

DAESH is shoving all the pre-Islamic history they can get their hands on down the Memory Hole.

The history of cities where Christians and Jews had thriving communities in the Holy Land and neighboring states? Gone. The history of temples, of cities where many gods of the Near and Middle East, of Greece and Egypt and Rome and Persia and Canaan and Babylon were worshiped? Gone. As if it were never there.

When I stop and consider how much we rely on studying ancient physical evidence–broken pots, partial statues, ruined buildings–for our understanding of ancient polytheism, it leaves me cold, and angry.

But what to do? I don’t have an army, or a lot of money for donating to whoever might be able to help directly.

Well, I suppose there’s always magic. Galina Krasskova has a suggestion, over at Gangleri’s Grove. Go check it out.

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About Lon Sarver

Lon Sarver is a polytheist priest of Dionysos, living in the San Francisco Bay Area and contemplating (with a healthy amount of dread) making a second attempt at a career in Marriage and Family Therapy. View all posts by Lon Sarver

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