Following we publish the message Cristina Miedico, Director of the Archealogical Museum of Angera, dedicated to the "keeper of Palmyra" Khaled al Asaad on the occasion of the inauguration of the Garden of Tunis, on 15 July 2016
When I learned about the tragic death of Khaled al Asaad, I started crying my eyes out. I had the feeling that something sacred and untouchable: they had tortured and killed a Man, already elderly, who had dedicated all his life to protecting and promoting the memory and beauty of a site such as Palmyra. Such an atrocity went well beyond my imagination.
I did not have the opportunity to get to know Khaled al Asaad in person, but I have always seen him as a model, an archaeologist and a curator in the strictest sense of the term. A man who, before any other, had been able to understand the importance, uniqueness and never-ending beauty of Palmyra. A wise archaeologist who had been able, proudly and humbly , to demand help to the world to have it studied and let it emerge from t he sand, and a cultural promoter able to have Palmyra inscribed among the monuments that constitute the World Heritage. Only very few of us will have the opportunity to reach similar results in life.
As soon as I heard the news of Khaled al Asaad’s murder, I organized a conference at the Archaeological Museum. The Hall had never been so full and it was a great and felicitous surprise to me to discover how many people were interested in what was happening and paying homage to a Righteous Man like Khaled al Asaad.
In Milan the International Meeting of Museums, with over 3,500 curators from 150 world countries, has just come to an end. In all committees the need for more concrete a commitment was reaffirmed, also on the side of the Museum Institutions, in promoting models of peace, and occasions of intercultural encounter. I firmly believe that the study of antiquities and the Archaeology of Migrations can provide models of cultural inclusion that are extremely important for our future and this is why I cannot but have in front of me, as a perpetual model, as inimitable example, an enlightened archaeologist like Khaled al Asaad, who defended ‘til his death a Roman site in the Syrian area. To him I express my most profound gratitude, the one that you feel toward Masters, from him I will try to draw inspiration when trying to build bridges among cultures. Often, diverse traditions are only seemingly distant from each other, and actually they share some common roots. Europe, in fact, was a Phoenician princess kidnapped by Zeus on the coasts of Minor Asia and taken to Crete.From their union the future of some of the most important cities of ancient Greece were born:it is certainly not by chance that their descendants decided to call “Europe” our continent , which is thus really rooted in the Middle East.