The destruction of the Baalshamin temple at Palmyra is an atrocity on a global and human scale. The loss of life inflicted by IS, is of course a travesty of religious intolerance. But the destruction of the temple is in some ways a more threatening and robust attack. Taking a life is a moral outrage, but when IS destroy temples they are destroying culture, the very essence of a people. And not only those who built the temple nearly 2,000 years ago, but also the culture and artistic sensibilities of the generations who have lived near the site. Generations who looked at it and said, ‘here is something special which we must preserve, here is an idea of humanity’. IS are doing what the expanding Christian empire did to pagan cultures in the middle ages, they are eradicating any sense of difference, and with it our ability to learn and value the developing human condition. This is a holocaust, one of culture.