Save Mes Aynak Buddhist Cultural Site
Posted on September 23rd, 2012

Dilrook Kannangara

When the Bahamian Buddhist statues were destroyed in 2001, it passed without much resistance. Those who silently suffered it called it quick karma when coalition troops attacked Afghanistan later that year ending the Taliban rule. However, the world lost these valuable artefacts. Buddhism is not about statues and archaeological sites but these symbolic artefacts must be preserved. Millions of people pay homage of Buddhist relics that symbolise the outward aspect of their belief. They are part of a broader cultural-religious phenomenon that symbolise philosophical teachings. They are also of immense archaeological value.      

Mes Aynak is an ancient Buddhist site in Afghanistan dating back to over 2,000 years. Unfortunately, and rather strangely, it is not a UNESCO protected site. This makes it all the more difficult to protect it. It is believed to be one of the oldest centres of Buddhism that stood along the Silk Road. A short illustration can be found below.

 http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/09/21/afghanistans_vanishing_buddhas#9

 Brent Huffman is a filmmaker who has tirelessly brought world attention to this site. His work is much appreciated.

 This site faces multiple threats from the Taliban, looters, other extremist groups and now from mining. By December 2012, work will commence to convert the entire area into a copper mine by China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC). It will used for 30 years. Mining will not only destroy all the archaeological sites but also the entire landscape. With an estimated US$ 100 billion worth copper in the area, the business is keen to start mining. Although MCC obtained the right to mine in 2007 at a cost of US$3 billion, archaeologists were allowed till 2012 to complete removing movable objects.

 http://edition.cnn.com/2012/09/22/opinion/afghanistan-buddha-site-mine/index.html?hpt=hp_c2

 Teams of international archaeologists led by DAFA, a French archaeological delegation, are doing most of the work with the collaboration of Afghan archaeologists.

 Geopolitical and strategic issues make it extremely difficult to save it. US based companies are after massive copper and other mineral deposits in Afghanistan as “ƒ”¹…”payment’ for their sacrifices while the World Bank, Chinese and Indian companies are also scavenging whatever they can. As the future after 2014 is very uncertain, they are in a mighty hurry to extract the valuables as soon as possible. Poverty and corruption in Afghanistan push this project for an early start. Archaeology offers no financial incentives to Afghans.     

 A broad ranging alliance must be formed to save Mes Aynak. MCC is a Chinese government owned company and therefore the Chinese government must be involved in the process. Coalition troops including USA should be included too. Afghan government needs to be in it. Since the Taliban are the de facto rulers of a considerable part of Afghanistan and possibly the de facto rulers of entire Afghanistan after 2014, it is imperative to include the Taliban. If coalition troops are seen as the only protectors of the site, it will be in danger of attack from the Taliban. It has to be treated as a Buddhist cultural site than a religious site to the Afghans who are not very tolerant of other faiths. Saving this valuable site is the responsibility of the world community as it faces an uncertain future despite miraculously escaping multiple wars.

14 Responses to “Save Mes Aynak Buddhist Cultural Site”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    We don’t talk to terrorists, period. Leave Taliban out.

  2. Sunil Vijayapala Says:

    The guns used to blow up the statues were designed by two Pakistanis, Taliban supporters. China is not much into Buddhism as they have destroyed Tibet in the name of capitalism! Afghans protected the Buddhist sites but helpless in the hands of Taliban and whoever who wants to exploit Afganistan, rich in natural resources. It’s the money that matters most now and only UN can stop this as they did with the Sinharaja road issue.

  3. jayt Says:

    Sunil and Dilrook,

    the destruction of statue carried by Western spies and Israel. I have superb evidence for this. The statu was there for thousands of years. Taliban have very wrong side vary barbaric side treating their own sisters own moms and little bay girls as slave and it is very heartbreaking happening in Pakistan and Afghanistan while some Taliban began to see that foreign spies destroying them and their countries by using their own barbarism against their own sisters, moms , brothers and little helpless innocent children.

    Educated Pakistanis too blame that they wrongly allowed Taliban population into Pakistan during Soviet war and not deporting them Back to Afghanistan, today, Pakistanis are paying a heavy bloody price. However, Pakistanis elite are realised what price they are paying for not taking responsibilities and removing uneducated backward culture on which foreign spy warm grow and destroy. Therefore, I see and I am happy to see that loving Pakistani are uniting making progress through excellent Tv charities programs by exposing children and lady abuse and taking action against them.
    I hope Pakistanis take little more faster programs and exposer those children abusers especially especially bringing up fast rescue plans to rescue those little children who were sold by their backward parents to pay off borrowed loans from neighbours.

    Now, Taliban have had good side. Taliban like their culture and pride. Taliban like nature. Taliban never interested exporting Islamic extremists. They were only interested in protacting their country and pride. Throughout the history
    Taliban ran government. They had pretty normal diplomatic friendship and trade with SRi lanka and india with no any connection to local matters.

    Taliban sit down near Lord Buddha statue and had tea had for thousands years and did not do no harm to and government of Afghanistan was Taliban and they protected it all time until western spies send Israel in 2001 engineered it.

    I will come back with the rest of story

  4. Sunil Vijayapala Says:

    Jayt – ‘I have superb evidence for this’ pl. reveal this. As I mention before we all write what we have read or heard. Evidence can be concocted. The only thing you can believe is what you see yourself. The rest could be hearsay although some like to act autoritative. Even history, both documented and passed on through by word of mouth could be a distorted, an exagerated or completely fabricated. This is where Buddhism comes into picture – to be an empiricist.

  5. Lorenzo Says:

    Jayt,

    “Taliban have had good side. Taliban like their culture and pride. Taliban like nature.”

    MY FOOT!!

    Thanks to foolish Taliban actions, Russia, USA, China, etc. will take away all Afghanistan’s resources and anything beautiful. Only ganja and ninja will be left behind!!

  6. Leela Says:

    Jews, Christians and Muslims are Unitarians who follow Abraham’s ‘One God’ concept and consider he was the founding father of their respective faith.

    Muhammad said; the ‘One God’ that got angel Gabriel to read him the entire Koran had also given Abraham a black stone. But other two Unitarians namely Jews and Christians never spoke a word about such a stone. For Muhammad the said black stone was so special, he kept it in the city of Mecca, named it ‘Holy Kaaba’ and ordered all Muslims to worship it. What I am trying to emphasize here is Muslim’s ‘Holy Kaba’ is an idol.

    The name that Muslims call ‘One God’ is Allah. And the entire message that One God read through Gabriel to Muhammad is in ‘the Koran’. Muslim’s ‘Holy Koran’ has two sections; ‘Sunnah’ is Muhammad’s behaviour, practice, and values, and ‘Shariah’ is the law that Allah dictated to Muslims. Anyway, ‘Sunnah’ and Shariah’ are interlocked in the Koran which has about 300 pages divided in to 114 chapters called Surah.

    Muslims are expected to solve all their problems according to ‘Shariah’. If the answer is not in Shariah, they refer to Sunnah. Only when answers are not in both Shariah and Sunnah, Muslims suppose to use their own reasoning to solve problems. But we have seen Muslim clerics interpreting Shariah and Sunnah in books called Hadith to find answers anything from pagans to idols and marriage to adultery in true Islamic form.

    Muslims scholars say; Islam means peace. From Sunnah or Muhammad’s life one could conclude easily that Muhammad’s peace means rule by his word in the Koran. And, for Muhammad’s ‘peace’ to prevail it is obvious that all worship other than his (Islam) must be vanquished.

    Idol worshipping was rampant at Muhammad’s time. So, Muhammad had set to establish his ‘peace’, in his own style. Muhammad fought his first fight in Badr to destroy worshipping idols of other believers. At Badr, Muhammad fought along his 300 or so followers and set a precedent to all Muslims. From then on, the spread of Islam has been by the sword, all the way.

    With parallel motives, Muhammadans had destroyed the entire Buddhist and the Hindu idols from Bactriana to Bengal in 1100 A.C. They flattened the famous Buddhist University Nalanda and great many temples in Buddhagaya to the ground during the next two centuries. Invaluable Buddhist scriptures embodied in the palm leaves were set on fire. With the forcible conversion of Buddhists to Islam, Bhikkhus fled to neighbouring countries for good. And, Muslims managed to wipe out Buddhism from its birthplace, India.

    Modern day Talibans said they are true Muslims. During their rule, they also said; true Muslims have to follow Muhammad’s life or Sunnah to the letter. And since Afghanistan is a Muslim country, they do not need idols.

    True, true, by design, Muslims have to hate anything that has the remotest resemblance of an idol. So just like Talibans have destroyed Bahamian Buddha statues, they will destroy ll idols that remain in Afghanistan when they return to power period.
    Leela

  7. seruvila senarath Says:

    JAYT ;
    AS YOU SAY;
    THALIBANS ARE BABIES AND EVAN YOU CAN HAND FEED THEM ON YOUR LAPS.

    YOU ARE A NUMBER ONE IDIOT.

    I HAVE EXPERIENCES WITH THALIBANS. MOSTLY AFGANS, PAKIS,. BALUCHIS, PANJABI, AND KASMIRIS.
    THEY ARE VERY RELIGIOUS AND EXTREMIST BUT IGNORANT OF OTHER RELIGIONS BECAUSE THEY BRAIN WASHED BY MUSLIM EXTREMIST TEACHERS IN ISLAM MADARASAS SINCE THEIR VERY YOUNG AGES. .
    AND GET ANGRY SOON , IF YOU SAY THAT YOU ARE A BELIEVER OF ANOTHER RELIGION OR PHILOSOPHY.

    THEY WERE TRAINED TO REMOVE ANY OBJECTION TO ISLAM OR THEIR TRIBAL BELIEFS. AND THEY HATE WEST AND EAST .
    BECOUSE OF CHRISTIANITY AND BUDDHISM

    BUT THE JOKE IS THAT, THEY WANT TO USE WESTERN THINGS LIKE GERMANY OR USA MADE MOTER VEHICLES AND GUNS.
    ON THE SLY THEY DO ALL THE MISCHIVES THINGS AND MOST ARE HOMOSEXUALS.
    AND SOME DO NOT SPARE FEMALE DONKEYS

  8. Fran Diaz Says:

    It is better that the UN takes away all the artifacts from this site at Mes Aynak and give them to those who will value and take care of them. They are so beautiful – stone & clay speaks of Serenity and Compassion !

    Those who destroy beautiful works of Art are Ignorant people. They do not realise that they are damaging their own so called ‘country’ and the few true treasures of Art there. Ignorance & Anger are the greatest of all Destroyers. If all Life is created by the one God, then all of God’s creation is Sacred.

  9. jayt Says:

    in 2001. when Israel open embassy, one of their goal was to set up Islamic countries and Taliban alike against Sri lanka and sri Lanka against Islam but this goal is not purely Israelis. This goal is of British origin. Also, this not
    the first attempt by Brits. They did several attempts set up Singhalese and Muslim against one another during all war period to drum up Muslim support for tigers by using small extreme Muslims groups who were against SL,

    in these case, they, western spies failed to get majority of Muslim support and the muslim sided with Singhalese but foolish extreme Muslim trade minister of prez kumaratunga who like foolish Taliban fell into the trap laid by Brits spies and secretly met Brits spies in Colombo by betraying both Singhalese and Muslim and agreed to help Brits spies to
    smuggle weapons into sl to support tigers. and that’s how British got rid of huge number Muslim and sinhalese from north.
    I forget to mention that these all plans done by Brits before Israel move in with embassy status.

    when Israel move in they came to sl with British order to execute trade minister immediately before Muslim trade ministers secret connection to Western spies is revealed, this is usual tactic of western spies used in all wars – first priority is to get rid of main link after a certain period of covert operation achieved.
    finally, Israeli came with Brits plan to kill trade minister in plan crash. the plane he was travelling was made in the west or elsewhere but Israeli and west spies had full established link to it.

    Here is my point, they tried all to divide Muslim and sinhalese but non so far work. then Israel arraigned a letter boosting how Israel won war against Egypt and got some foolish sinhalese English news papers to publish it by provoking Egyptian embassy in Colombo and Muslim and Taliban in the region.
    meanwhile Egypt ambassador wowed avenged against sl some way and in minutes Brits spies in Afghanistan defamed and fuelled Taliban to avenge sl for downgrading Arab pride and insulting Palestinian cause.

    The trade minister was given fake promises to create a muslim state in the east. Brit and american gave fake promises to Talaban, Pakistan, and al Qaeda for 20 years to liberate Kashmir from India and liberate Palestine from Jews.
    that’s how west spies brought statu down and now trying to make Singhalese forget western supported tiger war and trying to get Sinhalese what they failed at that time against muslim.

    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    jayt Says:
    September 24th, 2012 at 2:35 pm
    Today, if u investigate afganistan and Pakistan, you will find Brits and all western spies links To Taliban on one side and Pakistani and Afghanistan governments on other side. and all operating in new Dehli with black market supplying weapons to Taliban.

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  10. Lorenzo Says:

    Jayt,

    Please keep Sinhalese OUT of your DIRTY wars. They have NOTHING to do with those dirt. They are NEUTRAL. NO sympathy. NO hatred. Friendly with Israel and friendly with Saudi (though Saudi voted AGAINST us).

    Honestly they don’t give a flyingfart if BOTH your warring parties go extinct in war as they will from the looks of things. Get it?

  11. jayt Says:

    Lorenzo,

    Do not jump out of line.

  12. jayt Says:

    similarly, sinhalese have nothing to do with Tiger supporters

  13. jayt Says:

    Lorenzo, West free speech lovers will block everything if sl start public inquiry. I guarantee !

  14. afg Says:

    Afghanistan has been home to buddhism and buddhists for so long. Unfortunately, narrow-sightedness has made some people of this age blind.

    This and the fp article are a story of a trage about to happen in the midst of a struggle for economic gains versus saving historical heritage. You can put pressure on your politicians and the government of Afghanistan to save this site for future generations. Write them , tell them what you think!

    Please also sign our petition for this cause:

    http://www.change.org/petitions/president-hamid-karzai-prevent-destruction-of-ancient-site-of-mes-aynak-the-environmental-damage-3

    And please share this message, thank you

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