Art: Never Forget
English edited by Delphine Schrank
Who could have imagined in March 2001 that when the Taliban gleefully blew up the three giant Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan, their appalling act of cultural vandalism was just a prelude to the assassination less than six months later of Commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, the country’s iconic resistance leader, and just two days after that, to the attacks of September 11? Silent vigils to the endless vicissitudes of human history, these storied sculptures had survived countless previous attempts to ransack or raid them since their creation sometime between the 4th and the 8th century.
More recently, Islamic State terrorists, or ISIS, made a central mission of destroying the archaeological sites across Syria and Iraq—art, the collateral victim of anger and stupidity.
Archaeologists had previously dismembered many of these relics and transported them to major Western museums—art, the collateral victim, or assumed booty, of powerful nations, human vanity, and plunderers too.