The archaeologist Isber Sabreen
"The interview" by Maurizio Abbati
a “peaceful warrior” of our time who uses the strength of Culture to protect the archaeological site of Palmyra (Syria).
by Maurizio Abbati
On Saturday, the 13th February 2016, at the Anglican Church in Bordighera (Italian Flower’s Riviera, close to the Cote d’Azur), we met Isber Sabrine, Syrian
archaeologist, at his first official visit to Italy.
Isber Sabrine, co-founder of the NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) Heritage for Peace,
settled up in March 2013 (in Gerona, Catalonia, edit) with a view to recover and preserve the huge Syrian historical and cultural heritage, including a unique archaeological spot, recognized by UNESCO, which, lately, has often hit the
news headlines. We are talking about Palmyra, a real architectural jewel embedded in an oasis of palm trees (where the name comes from, edit) in the middle of the Arabic rocky desert. This unique archaeological site integrates Syrian Anatolian elements with
Hellenistic and Roman style.
The thirty-year-old archaeologist describes passionately and spontaneously what pushed him forward with creating a network of experienced
people aimed at rescuing pieces of art in order to limit the destructive force of a stateless enemy, hidden behind a dark flag which destroys the civilisation.
volunteers, the Twenty-First Century “Monuments Men” (as defined by the international press, edit), are more than 200 spreading all around Europe, Middle East and the rest of the World. It is a real “Art army” made of academic
professors, experts of archaeology and researchers, other than volunteers.
“The cultural heritage is a source of human dialogue among the peoples and a force for
peace” - Isber was saying while commenting on some shocking images of Palmyra. The Temple of Baal, crumbled into shapeless ruins, is opposed to the personal photographic report on the same site - entitled “Palmyra
forever” – shown and commented by Professor Mirto who had just praised its architectural refinement. A great example of artistic cultural integration represented by Corinthian and Doric capitals together with traditional Arabic muqarnas. The
pictures show, for example, what is left of the Triumphal Arch, emblem of cultural and commercial prosperity of the past. It is just a heap of rubble, outcome of severe explosions! The audience has stared at them speechless! The eyes of the Syrians,
skilfully immortalized in a puzzle-like shooting (Project “The gaze follows the memory” by Studio Azzurro, 2010, Milan, edit) express pain, fear, hope, more than a thousand words. Looking forward to a future “renaissance”
scented by Damask Rose whose perfume, created just for the occasion by the fashion atelier DAPHNÉ ® from Sanremo, was spreading out over the audience and the naves of the once church.
“It is everyone’s duty to support independent Organisations, such as Heritage for Peace, which commit themselves, at their own risks, to preserve the cultural identity of Syrian people as well
as of all mankind” – Isber Sabrine concludes.
And which weapon is more effective than our intelligence? …than our mind? “The aim of art is
to represent not only the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance”, Aristotle said some centuries ago.