Heritage is important to us and our society because “[h]eritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration” (UNESCO). Through heritage, we pass our culture and traditions to the next generation; we pass a sense of our identity through heritage. Because of this, heritage is important. World heritage is even more important because world heritage is what is agreed to be the heritage of the world. The protection of these sites is even more essential. UNESCO governs ad protects sites to be world heritage sites; however, even with this protection, world heritage sites can still be destroyed through: natural disasters or political conflict.
Nature is an essential part of the world we live in. It gives the earth its beauty and its life. It helps support the living things that live on the planet. However, with nature’s beauty and helpful nature comes natural disasters. Earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, fires, etc are all examples of natural disasters that can occur. The result of these natural disasters can destroy heritage sites. Though natural disasters can destroy pieces of our heritage, they aren’t the key reason to the destruction of our heritage.
We are the key reason for the destruction of our heritage. Politics is a key part of our society, and through politics, we help destroy our own heritage. Through wars and various conflicts we destroy parts of our heritage. In wars, we destroy parts of our heritage by bombing them, or having actual conflicts in them, etc. Wars bring the bad side of people together. The illustration of this is the many casualties and destruction wars cause, including the destruction of heritage sites. A key example in which many heritage sites can by destroyed through war was the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. The bombing of these two cities cause great casualties in Japan; it destroyed about ninety percent of the cities and killed many of the civilians. This amount of destruction in the city and in the population might have resulted in the destruction of tangible and intangible heritage. Wars are not the only example of how political conflicts destroy heritage.
Heritage can be destroyed through political angst or political conflict. A key example of this is the destruction of the Bamiyaan Buddhas. The Bamiyaan Buddhas were a part of UNESCO’s world heritage list; however, the Taliban destroyed these artifacts of heritage because the UNESCO offered money in the preservation of these artifacts, but not to feed the people. The Taliban destroyed the Bamiyaan Buddhas as political message. The destruction of the Bamiyaan Budhas were because of political conflict. Similarly through the destruction of heritage sites because of wars, destruction of Bamiyaan Buddhas and other sites due to political conflicts could have been prevented. So, it is important to know the importance of these sites and of politics in governing them.
Heritage is a key part of our society, so the preservation of it is essential. Thus, UNESCO’s job in preserving the world heritage sites is an important duty. However, a key way to prevent the destruction of heritage is through mediation of political conflicts. The destruction of heritage through natural disasters cannot be prevented, but it can be prevented through political conflict.