Recovering from the Taliban

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by jd callow, Nov 21, 2005.

  1. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    a website you may be interested in.

    The site is www.masoodkamandy.com. Masood Kamandy is trying to establish a photography department at Kabul University, Afganistan.
    The Taliban believed it was a criminal act to take a photograph...so, of course they closed the department
     
  2. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Forget what it was called, but there was a great documentary several months back about the saving the film archives and other artworks in Afghanistan and the people who saved them from systematic destruction by the Taliban. They built false walls, broke out lights in hallway corners to disguise entrances, and IIRC, produced faked "originals" of films to be destroyed instead of the originals. They painted over many paintings in the national museum as well, in a back room under the guise of restoration. All of this activity was punishable by death if found out. This was almost certainly on PBS, probably Frontline.

    Lee
     
  3. Poco

    Poco Member

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    My earliest childhood memory is of standing on the head of one of the two giant buddhas destroyed by the Taliban. I vividly remember looking out past the curved rock vault above to the incredibly blue sky beyond. I've never seen a sky like that again.

    There were many tragedies within the horror of 9/11 but certainly one of them was that it, and the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan, occurred a year too late to save those Buddhas.
     
  4. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    There is also evidence for another Buddha, a reclining one many hundreds of feet long on that site, buried underground, and perhaps still intact. A recent exploratory dig found what might possibly be part of that Buddha, reported in journals by ancient travellers along the silk road.

    Lee
     
  5. smieglitz

    smieglitz Member

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    How sad they are gone.

    I recall watching video of the destruction of those statues and realizing at that moment the Taliban had no respect for other cultures and that we would soon engage in a clash of civilizations.
     
  6. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Oh men! I saw a documentary or news when they were doing that and I was really sad. What a shame these people would do this!

    I have to admit that I bitch and whine about the INAH in Mexico, but I have to give them their due, they take good care of the archeological sites.
     
  7. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    This is good to see. It shows the populace are losing their fear.
     
  8. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    This is certainly a worthy enterprise. I did see the destruction of the statues by the Taliban, but did not know that the taking of a photograph was considered evil. In the above site's pages there is contact information about donations to this effort.

    I hope that the people of this reigon are able to maintain their actions for the growth of their countries. It makes us realize how truly petty our bickering about the daily lives we lead are. Here's hoping that there are many pictures taken in Kabul next year by many students. tim
     
  9. haris

    haris Guest

    Islam forbidde presentation of face or body. Islam also forbidde statues or like. That is why photography is banned. Well, thing are changed and only absolut radicals like Talibans respect that.

    For example, have you ever seen portraiture made by Muslim artists? Hardly. It is against Islamic religion rules. Most subject of Muslim artists are landscapes and speciall technique of artistically writting letters, called caligraphy.

    That was reason for Talibans to made such crime against art and culture that destroying of Buddha statues was...

    But, luckilly, things are changing (I hope).
     
  10. Poco

    Poco Member

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    The strange thing is those buddhas had already been defaced (literally had their faces knocked off). For a long time such defacing seemed to satisfy the strictures against human representation, but the Taliban obviously took it all to a new level.

    My parents smuggled a couple dozen examples of complete statuary out of the country -- bought from farmers who'd found them in their fields. Quite a few of them ended up in the Cleveland Museum of Fine Art, but I still have several sitting in my living room. I'll struggle with the morality of keeping them as soon as I run out of all other worries.
     
  11. haris

    haris Guest

    Poco...

    If those examples are mass products made for tourists, no problem. But is they are original Afghanistan art, your parents made criminal act (stealing and smuggling), and it would be only fair to return them to Afghanistan. By you (your parents) and by Cleveland Museum of Fine Art. Sorry for harshness, but that is that.
     
  12. Poco

    Poco Member

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    I agree, at least on the smuggling part. And I'll consider what to do about it once I inherit them outright. For the moment, though, my torment has limits. The farmers made money and without foreign buyers those statues would not have survived.

    I'll likely follow Cleveland's example on the statues' disposition once they're mine outright.


    Sorry to have diverted the thread with this, mrcallow.
     
  13. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    What I find most interesting is the most famous portrait taken by a National Geographic photographer was of an Afghan girl. We all have seent he image of that young girl. It graced the cover of their special 100 year anniversary book.
     
  14. Dorothy Blum Cooper

    Dorothy Blum Cooper Member

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  15. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Could there be a more compelling case for colour, a more compelling portrait, or, when viewing the before and after images, a better example of why we need to care about the conditions of others?
     
  16. haris

    haris Guest

    Hear, hear.
     
  17. BradS

    BradS Member

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    The whole story has me in awe of this people's amazing courage to stand up against a government that was simply evil. Imaging what this country could be like if our people had but a small fraction of their courage.
     
  18. Christopher Colley

    Christopher Colley Member

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    great photography and powerful story


    .... I think the first image of what appears to be kites flying says it all...

    a photograph (something you could be killed for) of kite flying (something you could be killed for)
     
  19. kdanks

    kdanks Member

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    A friend of mine worked for Medecins Sans Frontiers in Afghanistan during the Taliban period. I got an email from him soon after he returned from some R&R in Thailand, where the tourist authority describes the country as 'the land of smiles'. By comparison he said, Afghanistan is the land of miserable old bastards with beards. He was constantly getting stopped by the religious police for not having a beard himself, but was always allowed to go when his intepreter explained that he was an infidel.
     
  20. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    Has anyone seen the film, "Osama" which came out a couple of years ago? It's about a girl who had to dress like a boy to live in Afganistan, and she goes through all the trouble with the "Taliban" rules. She gets abused, tourtured, and raped/molested in the western standard.

    I don't know if this film reveals what is still going on over there today. Or has that really changed ever since the U.S. and its allies attacked the Talibans in 2001 and "democratized" their country?

    It was timely for the western audience when the film first came out in theaters back then. But I just saw it the other day for the first time and thought pretty awful about how women and children have to (or had to) live.

    Since its a beautiful film, I hope it means far more than its face values.
     
  21. scratchee

    scratchee Member

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    Interesting context

    I find it very interesting to read this thread, having just read another from last week in which the U.S. was decried as a "police state." One poster in that other thread noted courageously that, oh well, others had survived the communists and the Nazis.

    Take your pick: Germany under the Nazis, the USSR under the communists, Afghanistan under the taliban, or the U.S., where police officers occasionally do stupid things. To compare our current state to those others is, in my opinion, tremendously disrespectful to those who have truly suffered.

    A little perspective--and scale--go a long way.
     
  22. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Trolling?
     
  23. scratchee

    scratchee Member

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    What's your definition of trolling, Mr. Callow?