Dif­fi­cult choice

Southasia - - EDITOR'S MAIL -

Sit­ting hun­dreds of miles away from Afghanistan, I’m pray­ing for the pro­tec­tion of my coun­try’s an­cient trea­sures. Words won’t be enough to de­scribe the way I felt when the Bamiyan stat­ues were de­stroyed by the Tal­iban. It hurt more be­cause I re­mem­ber vis­it­ing the place as a kid. Now I tell my chil­dren about the grandeur of the grace­ful Bud­dha stat­ues and how tiny one felt in front of them. I’m still un­able to un­der­stand how ruth­less one has to be to de­stroy such a mag­nif­i­cent piece of ar­chi­tec­ture which is also an im­por­tant his­tor­i­cal ar­ti­fact.

After read­ing the ar­ti­cle ‘Dif­fi­cult Choice’, I’ve been hop­ing and silently pray­ing for a mir­a­cle that could some­how con­vince the Afghan au­thor­i­ties that ru­in­ing the Mes Ay­nak site would be a wrong decision of gi­gan­tic proportions. Afghanistan is a large coun­try rich with min­eral re­sources. I’m sure when things are bet­ter and more sta­ble, we will find many more such places that hide nat­u­ral wealth inside them. But once dig­ging be­gins at Mes Ay­nak for cop­per re­serves, its cen­turies-old trea­sure will be de­stroyed.

No force on earth will be able to bring it back. Why can’t the Afghan au­thor­i­ties un­der­stand this sim­ple point? While the need for min­ing is es­sen­tial for the Afghan econ­omy, per­haps the gov­ern­ment should at least wait for a cou­ple of years till the ar­ti­facts that can be saved are pre­served by ex­perts. It is hoped that the gov­ern­ment will pay heed to this crit­i­cal mat­ter. The in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity also needs to pres­sur­ize the Afghan au­thor­i­ties to act sanely and avoid hasty de­ci­sions.

Sa­mar Hik­mat New Jersey, U.S.

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