Khaled Al-Asaad Was Killed By ISIS For Refusing To Lead Them To Hidden Ancient Treasures
Bernard Gagnon / Wiki Commons
Khaled al-Asaad was renowned around the world for his knowledge of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra. Not only did he know everything about the city's 4,000-year-old history, but he also helped get it recognized as a world heritage site, and even named one of his daughters after a famous Palmyrene queen. To him, Palmyra was his home, his work, his life, his everything.
Museo Nazionale di Damasco
And you do not fuck with a man's everything.
So when ISIS came knocking on Palmyra's doors in May 2015, Khaled knew exactly what to do. Where we would have bought tickets to the geographically-farthest place on Earth, Khaled decided to stay and help supervise the evacuation of the local museum, which housed priceless treasures, from the Palmyra archaeological site.
His friends and family begged him to leave, but al-Asaad knew that if he ran, ISIS would destroy half of the museum's artifacts (which they considered pagan worship) and sell off the rest, because rocket launchers and beard oil cost money. By the time ISIS arrived in Palmyra, most of the museum's collection was safely hidden away, so the jihadists immediately arrested Khaled al-Asaad and "questioned" him for a month, trying to get him to give up the treasures' location.
Print Collector/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
You know you're a total shitstain when even the statues you're vandalizing give you the stink eye.