“Protectors of Beauty” prize goes to the director of Bardo Museum – In the context of “NOSTOS. Festival of travel and travelers”, Moncef Ben Moussa, custodian and director of Bardo National Museum in Tunisi, will receive the next 4th June in Casa Cuseni the prize “Protectors of Beauty”, dedicated to Khaled al-Asaad, who was killed in defense of the history, art and identity of his country. The official announcement by Sebastiano Tusa, during the press conference introducing the first edition of “Protectors of Beauty” prize, has been welcomed with great enthusiasm. “Protectors of Beauty” prize was created by the association NaxosLegge and by Casa Cuseni Museum. To the press conference contributed: Mario D’Agostino, Vice-mayor and councillor with responsibility for cultural matters in Taormina; NaxosLegge artistic director Fulvia Toscano, a member of the Casa Cuseni Scientific Committee and part of the jury; the writer Marinella Fiume, member of the Casa Cuseni Scientific Committee and part of the jury; Paolo Patanè, general manager of CUNES (coordination Unesco centers in Sicily); Giuseppe Nuccio Iacono, museologist, regionale coordinator of the Memory houses circuit and part of the jury; Sebastiano Tusa, archeologist and sea Superintendent, and the archeologist Maria Grazia Vanaria from the Naxos and Taormina archeological Park.

«All humanity inherits a cultural heritage» declared Moncef Ben Moussa, director of Bardo National Museum in Tunisi. «In world of culture there are no borders, or rather the culture itself cancels those borders, and let us build bridges right were there are none, let us meet and enrich ourselves with the meeting with our neighbors, especially when they are “different” from us. The world of culture is the culture of humanity – it means, all the human cultures leading to Human evolution, to man’s thought, to his ideas, sciences, intelligence. The Islamic State, and all extremisms in general, represents ignorance and mental diseases». The Bardo museum, on 18th March 2015, has been theatre of a savage terroristic attack from the ISIS, declaring that the target of the attack were right the museum and foreigner tourists. In the Bardo Museum attack 24 people died (21 of them were tourists, 1 law enforcement officer, 2 terrorists) and 45 people were were injured.

Moncef Ben Moussa, director of Bardo National Museum in Tunisi
Moncef Ben Moussa, director of Bardo National Museum in Tunisi

A prize dedicated to Khaled al-Asaad, custodian and martyr of Beauty – Khaled al-Asaad, one of the most important XXth century innovator in the field of Siria archeology, has been savagely killed by ISIS terrorists on 28th August 2015. Nominated in 1963 director of the museum and archeological site in the city of Palmira, kept his role for over 40 years; he worked with colleagues from the USA, France, Germany, Switzerland on the studies on the first cultures in Palmira. Thanks to his work result, the UNESCO in 1980 recognized Palmira as World Heritage; he published several articles on archeology magazine and more than 20 books about Palmira and about the Silk Route; Expert in Aramaic, he translated many different texts from that language. Because of his contribution to the archeological studies in Palmira, he was awarded with the Order of Merit of France, with the Order of Merit of Poland and with the Order of Merit of Tunisia. In July 2015 The Islamic State fighters kidnapped him, tortured him (according The Guardian, Asaad refused to provide information about the location of some antic art pieces) and on 18th August 2015 was killed in the square in front of the Museum of the new Palmira (today Tadmur), his body beheaded and his head exhibited to the public, hung on a small column.

[Author: Giusy Bottari / English: Clelia Caltabiano]

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