Worst of times, best of times
So why do I say "best of times" as well as "worst of times"? Because paradoxically, just as the old world's physical remains are threatened with destruction in Syria, its spirit is coming very much alive in Ireland.
As I explained here, one of the starkest differences between the Classical civilization and the Christian/Islamic societies that followed its downfall is their respective attitudes toward homosexuality. That's why the modern West's Christian hard-liners view growing acceptance of gays as an absolutely existential threat, something they must go all-out to fight against, their "hill to die on" (and ISIS and several Islamist regimes single out gays for execution). They view growing social acceptance of homosexuality as a decisive sign of the fundamental re-paganization of our societies -- and they are correct to do so.
Even if the thugs of ISIS blast down every last column and wall that stands in Palmyra, they can take away nothing from the greatness of the ancients (largely their own ancestors!) who built those things, beside whom they and those like them can only be the merest scuttling rodents. No matter what ISIS destroys, in the end it will be defeated, even if that takes another year or two. What it stands for will be defeated, even if that takes another decade or two. It's the victory won in Ireland last week that will endure, part of an ongoing social transformation that will sweep away the hatreds and horrors -- eventually, even in Syria and countries like it.