12 December 2005

Giant Buddhas

"I am now convinced that the Buddhist statues were not demolished. They crumbled to pieces out of shame, because of the west's ignorance towards Afghanistan".

-Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Iranian Film Maker

In the spring of 2001, Taliban leader Mullah Omar in a fatwa, gave the order to destroy the two Buddha statues.

"Why did the Taliban resort to such measures?" "They felt that the world had cheated them" countered Taysir Alony. "They realised that nobody was interested in the disastrous consequences of the economic blockade. Internationally, the Taliban were completely isolated. I believe that with the destruction of this symbol of Buddhism they wanted to set a political agenda. And I also think the international appeals and protests regarding the Buddhas made the Taliban ruthless. The world showed little interest in the fact that hundreds, yes even thousands of children in Afghanistan suffered from malnutrition or were maimed as the result of mines. Now, because of two old stone figures, the world reacted with cries of horror."

- Taysir Alony, Al Jazeera Correspondent

Giant Buddhas: A Film By Christian Frei