There were two Buddhas. They stood at 120 ft. high and 175 ft. high respectively. Over 1,300 years ago they were hewn out of the sandstone cliffs, by men of incomparable faith and belief.
Today the Taliban regime that rules the Afghan region attacked the Buddhas with rockets and tanks and explosives. They have been, according to the Taliban, "80% destroyed".
The Taliban's excuse for doing this is because Islam does not allow idols of any kind. "Only Allah, the Almighty, deserves to be worshipped, not anyone or anything else," said Mullah Mohammad Omar, the head of the Taliban.
But the real reason behind their destruction of what are essentially not only priceless artifacts but the heritage of the world is because of the recent sanctions imposed upon them by the U.N., punishment for not handing over the terrorist Osama Bin Laden. They destroyed the Buddhas because they know that nothing could hurt us Westerners any more than that.
I should point out that Afghan has been turned into a kind of medieval hell on Earth since the rise to power of the Taliban. The hands of thieves are cut off, homosexuals are stoned to death, and women can't go to school, and are rarely allowed to work outside the house at all. Why then is the destruction of these Buddhas so much more important than the suffering of the people, that we have finally taken notice?
It's because the whole purpose of art is to give hope, to inspire wonder. Suffering is, and always will be unless we someday find a way to change what it means to be human, but for the time being, suffering's only relief lies in hope, and hope is the soul of art.<P>That's why this evil, cruel thing done by the Taliban is essentially a declaration of war against the whole of human civilization and history. I wish I could join the army and go over there and stop them, but if I joined the army I wouldn't have any say in where they sent me, not like they would stop it anyway.
We fight wars over oil, and land... why not over art? I can't think of anything more worth dying for than that.