Should the Buddhas of Bamiyan be rebuilt?

No! That’s the answer of the UNESCO expert working on the case. Andrea Bruno holds that “The void is the true sculpture. It stands as disembodied witness to the will, thoughts and spiritual tensions of men long gone. The immanent presence of the niche, even without its sculpture, represents a victory for the monument and a defeat for those who tried to obliterate its memory with dynamite.”

The Bamiyan Buddhas were blown by the Taliban in 2001. Away from romantic thoughts, Bruno clearly justified his choice:
First, building the statues again would offend the iconoclastic Muslims in Afghanistan, and might even provoke another attack by the Taliban or their allies.
Second, it would cost a lot of money, and the technology used in recreating and illuminating them would be alien and out-of-place for the impoverished local community.
Third, the void itself has power as he mentioned…it highlights an absence that no one can ignore.

So, instead of rebuilding the Bamiyan Buddhas, Bruno is working on an itinerary among the caves and the other archaeological sites, including the void itself. Besides, a museum of peace will be built around. In case you did not know, the caves there have the world’s oldest oil paintings (5th century!).

Chapeaux Mr. Bruno! Finally someone who understand heritage within the perfect socio-cultural context and away from ‘big job’ mentalities that seek ‘monumentality’.

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