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Soundtrack to madness

There've been two strange stories involving soundtracks in the foreign news in recent days. The first comes with the devastating news of ISIS's destruction of Nimrud (pictured above, before the bulldozers and dynamite were deployed). In the video posted online, it's horribly fascinating to see how the deliberately brutish devastation of one of the world's most significant archaeological site is recorded with finely honed media-editing techniques, including slow-mo sequences and a chanted soundtrack. Terrorists' media skills have been commented on before, but I think it says something extraordinary that even as they seek infamy and denounce Western civilisation for its decadence, they seek on some level to glorify themselves as movie stars.

On the same day that this story ran in The Times - described by Michael Binyon as the worst act of cultural vandalism since the Nazis blew up Russian cultural monuments in World War II and destroyed Warsaw - a curious item on Cambodia appeared in the Independent. A reality show, 'It's Not A Dream', is aiming to reunite families who were separated by the Khmer Rouge. A worthy enough aim, but it somewhat reduces the impact that it's being done - as a friend quipped - as a rather tasteless 'Surprise Surprise' for Year Zero. For me it's the details of the soundtrack that are the most excruciating - as the screen goes back to reveal what should be the incredibly moving sight of the long separated relatives - 'Somewhere' from 'West Side Story' is played on the violin as an accompaniment.

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