Human Rights

Tunisia Remembers The Bardo National Museum Terrorist Attack

North Africa

Tunisians are remembering the anniversary of the deadly terrorist attack that took the lives of 20 tourists in the Bardo National Museum in Tunsia on 18 March 2015.

Four years have passed since the Le Bardo National Museum in Tunisia was attacked by ISIS terrorists, killing at least 22 tourists and injuring 45 others. In commemoration of the attack, the Tunisian Ministry of Culture held a vigil remembering the victims of the attack that struck Tunisia on March 18th, 2015.

Survivors of the attack also attended the vigil saying they will continue to remember the attack.

“We saw death and lived it, but God’s ability prevented us from dying. On this day we recall what happened as if it’s happening now, despite the security Tunisia is witnessing and the return of tourists,” said Hammadi bin Abd al-Salam, a local tour guide who survived the attack. “There is a deep wound within us.”

As part of the commemoration, the names of the 20 tourists who were killed in the attack were engraved on a large plate and placed on the entrance of the museum, in an attempt to honour the victims of the terrorist attack.

According to the Tunisian Minister of Culture, Mohammed Zein al-Abideen, following the attack, the security services worked intensely to protect the museum, which houses hundreds of artefacts, reminding Tunisians of their great cultural heritage, whilst teaching foreigners about the country’s historical contributions

During the commemoration, foreign diplomats and other officials stressed the need to defeat terrorism worldwide to protect civilians and important historical landmarks.

“Everywhere in the world, terrorism is causing terrible massacres. As a result, countries must intensify their efforts and allocate significant financial funds to eradicate it,” said Olivier Poivre d’Arvor, the French Ambassador in Tunisia. “Tunisia has invested so much in the war on terror since Le Bardo’s attack to protect itself and protect us.”

Since the rise of the militant group in 2014, many cultural and historical landmarks were damaged by their control over cities such as Palmyra and Mosul.

In March 2015, the militant group ransacked and destroyed the Mosul Museum, which housed hundreds of relics and artefacts of the Assyrian, Chaldean, and Sumerian civilisations in Iraq. In the same year, ISIS also destroyed parts of the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria, which sparked worldwide condemnation.

While some archaeologists proposed that an international force is sent to protect these sites, others have said that a military solution alone can not prevent the destruction of historical sites.

In response, archaeologist and artists from around the world have begun to 3D scan and archive important landmarks around the world to protect these areas from being wiped out from history.

International technology companies such as Google and Microsoft have launched massive projects working with locals to preserve cultural heritage worldwide.

As ISIS is facing defeat in the region, countries must not forget the ideological battle that needs to be fought with radical elements, which seek to kill civilians and erase the rich cultural history of the Middle East.

Commemorations like the one held in Tunisia to remember the attack on the Le Bard Museum need to be replicated in all countries that have been afflicted by terrorism, to raise awareness for the need to defeat terrorism ideologically and remind citizens of their important history and cultural heritage.