Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Destruction of culture

Remember when the Taliban destroyed the Buddha statues of  Bamiyan during 2001?


Such acts reveal the complete disregard for human history. No matter what your religious, political or cultural beliefs are, such pieces of history cut through ideology and become part of the total human experience. The statues can be rebuilt and there is an effort to do just that through UNESCO, Japan, Switzerland and of course Afghanistan where the site is.

The reason for that memory was the news that a library in Timbuktu was destroyed. Within the library were manuscripts of great importance to cultural heritage belonging to all the people of the world. No matter if you never set foot in Africa, each one of us is here because of the work done by those who came before us.

There are times when such treasures are lost in the course of war that make the world feel pain collectively. When Mostar bridge was destroyed during the war in Yugoslavia, the world felt that peace was completely lost. On a parellel, the looting of museums in Baghdad was forseen but still the actual event was viewed with disgust and loss.

These moments of insanity speak to frustration of people who commit such actions. History and culture are of little to no value in the minds of those that destroy such artifacts. Although looting does hold some desire of monetary value but the true value of the items looted belongs to the entire population. Such items are icons to the collective works of our past builders.

Some things are built to last forever others only survive due to care and respect. Peace is one of those realities that lasts only due to care and respect. Burning down libraries that house cultural treasures is of little help to any peaceful solution. So we are are left with the thought that peace is not the focus for those that set the fire. That mentality will always be apart of war.

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