Professor Christopher Stanley
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 ...view middle of the document...
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...