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Destruction of Bamiyan Buddhas

In: Religion Topics

Submitted By kandi0690
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Pages 4
Kandice Garza
Professor Christopher Stanley
ARTS 1301.783
February 9th, 2016
The Destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas-Unjustified
There is a saying by Niccolo Machiavelli, a famous politician and philosopher of the 16th century, “The end justifies the means.” Where the Taliban justified in destroying the Bamiyan Buddhas? I do not think that this destruction of art was justified. It is unjustified for the following grounds; I trust the Taliban had ulterior motives, it diminishes an important region of Afghanistan and Buddhist civilization in the region, and the destruction represents religious intolerance and hate by the Taliban.
The Taliban’s Supreme leader Muhammed Mullah Omar issued a decree to destroy the Buddhas in March 2001. Subsequently, after doing so, Mr. Rahmatullah, an advisor to him said he practiced this because the mullahs were outraged about money being applied to repair the statues for the thousands of hungry citizens’ of Afghanistan (partially the consequence of sanctions by the UN for bombing of two American Embassies in Africa). He said, “If we had wanted to destroy those statues, we could have performed it three years ago," Mr. Rahmatullah said. "Then why didn't we? In our faith, if anything is harmless, we simply give it. If money is going to statues while children are dying of malnutrition next door, then that makes it harmful, and we destroy it.”(Crossette, NYTimes.com) Mullah Omar had issued a decree in July of 1999 for a protection of the Buddhas “Because Afghanistan's Buddhist population no longer exists, so the stats are no longer worshipped, he added: "The government considers the Bamiyan statues as an example of a potential major source of income for Afghanistan from international visitors. The Taliban states that Bamiyan shall not be destroyed.” Let’s look at Mr. Rahmatullah’s assertion that the financing for the Buddhas does a disservice to the citizens that are perishing from starvation. There were several Buddhist states “such as Thailand, Sri Lanka, and even Iran offered to ‘buy’ the Buddhas or to pay for its preservation.” (Centliveres 9) In January of 1998 when the UN’s World Food Program brought food for thousands in the Bamiyan Valley, the Taliban jet fighter’s bombed the airstrip where the U.N cargo plane was placed. This caused 180 tons of food to be destructed. (Sddt.com) if the Taliban really cared about the starvation of its citizens then it would not destroy crops and burn the land destroying crops
Secondly, the demolition of the Buddhas is unjustified because it made a large loss for the Buddhist community. As an important piece of their story, the two Buddhas, Vairocana and Sakyamuni, located in the valley known in the ancient times as the Silk Road, was home to a large Buddhist community. The Chinese Monk Xuanzang visited the valley in 643 and noted that “The heavenly deities reveal good omens to the traders who go to and from this land...” (Yamada) The statues survived many attacks from others such as: Genghis Khan, and the 18th century Persian King Nadar Athshar. These statues were worshipped and enjoyed by tourists from round the globe. The two statues represented the days of flourishing riches. They are now caves inhabited by the pitiable.
Lastly, the demolition of the Buddhas represent religious intolerance by the Taliban. Mullah Omar’s decree to wipe out all non-Islamic statues and sanctuaries from Afghanistan represent an establishment that is not afraid to eradicate anything against their values. On with the statues they also destroyed other statues kept in at The National Museum in Kabul for being anti-Islamic. The globe has seen the Taliban conduct terror in society. The Taliban has a well-documented story of applying violence to impose their political and spiritual opinions.
To conclude, I do not feel the destruction of the Buddhas by the Taliban is rightfully justified. I do not feel it is justified for the following reasons: The Taliban used the country’s famine, which they are partially responsible, to their advantage, they destroyed an important region of Afghanistan and Buddhist civilization, and finally this destructive act symbolizes religious intolerance in a hostile country and hatred for another civilization. We should not approve of these forms of deeds from an organization that will do anything possible to further their political and spiritual opinions.
Bibliography
Pierre Centlivres, « The Controversy over the Buddhas of Bamiyan », South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal [Online], 2 | 2008, Online since 31 December 2008, connection on 5th February 2016. URL: http://samaj.revues.org/992
Crossette, Barbara. Interview. Taliban Explains Buddha Demolition. New York Times. 2001. Web. 5th Feb. 2016
Francioni, Francesco, and Federico Lenzerini. "The Destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan and International Law." European Journal of International Law 14.4 (2003): 619-651. Academic Search Complete. Web. 9 Feb. 2016.

Leoshoko, Janice. “On the Buddhist Runs of Bodh Gaya and Bamiyan. “Third Text” 25.6 (2011): 667-674. Academic Search Complete. Web. 9 Feb. 2016.
San Diego News, U.N. Says Taliban Starving Hungry People For Military Agenda. [Online], Online since 7 January 1998, connection on 8th February 2016. URL http://www.sddt.com/News/article.cfm?SourceCode=199801071s#.Vrp3RTrMvIU

Stein, Gil J. “THE WAR-RAVAGED CULTURAL HERITAGE OF AFGHANISTAN: An Overview of Projects of Assessment, Mitigation, and Preservation.” Near Eastern Archaeology 78.3(2015) 187-195. Academic Search Complete. Web. 8 Feb. 2016
Yamada, Meji. Buddhism of Bamiyan. Pacific World (2002), 3rd Series 4, 109-110. Web. Date accessed. 5 Feb. 2016.…...

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