Thousands of Years of Christian Culture Are Being Destroyed

by Paul Betts |  |  published on October 24, 2014

Baron Albrecht von Boeselager’s sad expression and world-weary tone hardly disguise his controlled anger at events in Syria and Iraq.

The Grand Chancellor of the Sovereign Order of Malta is the organisation’s foreign and internal minister, and has a long experience of humanitarian crises provoked by man-made conflicts and natural disasters. But for him, what is happening in Syria and Iraq right now is somewhat akin to the Thirty Years’ War.

For those who may have forgotten their history, this particularly brutal 17th century conflict initially began as a religious war with Protestant and Catholic states in Europe fighting each other even though they were (or had been) members of the Holy Roman Empire. The war subsequently developed into a more general conflict involving most of the great powers of Europe. Entire regions of Europe were devastated and denuded. The war ended only after everybody was exhausted and peace treaties were signed, European borders and spheres of influence redrawn, but some of the disputes that provoked the war went unresolved for much longer.