By Robert Fisk
"What is it about graven images? Why are we humanoids so prone to destroy our own faces, smash our own human history, erase the memory of language? I've covered the rape of Bosnian and Serb and Croatian culture in ex-Yugoslavia – the deliberate demolition of churches, libraries, graveyards, even the wonderful Ottoman Mostar Bridge – and I've heard the excuses. "There's no place for these old things," the Croat gunner reportedly said as he fired his artillery battery towards that graceful Ottoman arch over the Neretva. The videotape of its collapse was itself an image of cultural genocide – until the Taliban exploded the giant Buddhas of Bamian......
Beside that same East Sutton church in Kent, there still stands an English tombstone which I would read each time I panted past it in my Sutton Valence school running shorts on wintry Saturday afternoons. I don't remember whose body it immortalises, but I remember the carved verse above the name: "Remember me as you pass by,/ As you are now, so once was I./ As I am now, so you will be./ Remember Death will follow thee."
And I do recall, exhausted and frozen into my thin running clothes, that I came to hate this eternal message so much that sometimes I wanted to take a hammer and smash the whole bloody thing to pieces. Yes, somewhere in our dark hearts, perhaps we are all Talibans."