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Dan Cruickshank recently embarked upon a perilous journey to Syria, documented in his BBC Four programme The Road To Palmyra, to discover what had happened to the ancient city of Palmyra during three years of Islamic State control. His aim was to not only assess the destruction but to reveal the human suffering of those who died protecting the ancient city and its history.

Palmyra is important because it represents all our histories. It was at the beginning of what we in the West take to be our culture, our civilization. This was not just an attack upon the Syrian people and their identity, but an attack upon us all.

The Assad regime has stated that the repair of the city can represent a strong, defiant and resurgent Syria, but Dan believes that this is too delicate an issue to be politicised and should be handled with great sensitivity.

However, Palmyra has ‘died’ many times before; it can come back to life again and be reinvented. Rebuilding needs to be skilfully undertaken with love and respect; and perhaps, ultimately, heal the nation.

In this context, the city of Coventry presents an interesting case study, given that the city has also faced the destruction of its history, and has been forced to examine the possibilities for its reconstruction.

Join Dan Cruickshank for a highly original talk, as he discusses the fascinating parallels between the two cities of Palmyra and Coventry. There will be an opportunity for audience members to ask questions, and a book-signing will be held after the event.

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