Bamiyan erasure

[Image: Simon Norfolk. “Victory arch built by the Northern Alliance at the entrance to a local commander’s HQ in Bamiyan. The empty niche housed the smaller of the two Buddhas, destroyed by the Taliban in 2001.” From Afghanistan: Chronotopia.]

Just a quick note to say that I’ve added two images to last week’s interview with Simon Norfolk – which you should definitely read if you get a chance (it’s very long). The new images include this photograph, above, which centers on one of the destroyed Buddhas of Bamiyan.

(Thanks, Simon!)

4 thoughts on “Bamiyan erasure”

  1. Hey – Thanks, Alex.

    From the article:

    Gedeone Tonoli, a tunnel engineer from Italy, has been overseeing the most urgent task [at Bamiyan]: securing the cracking cliff face. One morning two Italian mountain climbers swung on ropes at the top of the niche that held the eastern Buddha, which, at an astounding 125 feet tall, was the smaller of the two. Wire netting covered the back wall of the niche, which still occasionally rattles with falling rocks and stones. A great scar marks the inner left wall where the explosion tore away the side of the niche, threatening the whole cliff.

    The right side of the niche, however, has been stable for two years, anchored with steel rods and tons of concrete pumped into the fissures. Tiny glass slides are taped to the rock, and sensors linked to a computer keep track of every tremble in the cliff face. Before, Mr. Tonoli said, “you could see the sky here and birds were flying in.”

  2. Hmmm… democratic Western tolerance for all things (moderately) religious meets a monotheistic Middle Eastern religion fundamentally intolerant of graven idols meets an Eastern religion which believes that all worldly things are a passing illusion.

    Talk about a clash of civilizations: we’ve got three teams on the playing field and no agrees where the goal posts are, or who the Referee is. This is a job for the United Nations!

    Iconoclasm for one reason or another has been going on for thousands of years. At what point in time should outsiders step in and attempt a resolution (that no one will be satisfied with)?

    Perhaps the United Nations’ next historical restoration project should be the reconstruction of the Temple in Jerusalem (on its original site). Rumor has it that a tri-partite building commission — led by a Roman, er, Italian engineer — will convene any day now…

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