|Kabul: 17:45 PM      |
Welcome to Kabul:Reconstructions. You can follow the information below, which has been gathered from a
number of sources by a number of participants (click on the names at left for bios), to reconstruct your
own picture of events in Kabul since this site was launched on March 8th, 2003 and, in a sense, since the
reconstruction of Afghanistan began somewhere in the winter of 2001-02.
Some of this information has been provided in response to specific questions submitted by visitors like you. Please note that this section of the project is now maintained as an archive and has not been updated since 2005. Click here to ASK A QUESTION.
Arian Mouj Sharifi
An alternative plan to reconstruct the Buddhas of Bamiyan (Al Jazeera/Reuters)
Afghan Buddhas may be rebuilt Wednesday 12 November 2003, 22:21 Makka Time, 19:21 GMT The giant Buddhas of Bamiya could make a dramatic return, despite being blown up in 2001 by Taliban forces. Afghanistan's world-famous carvings were completely shattered, but one Swiss expert told journalists on Wednesday that it is possible to rebuild them in concrete. Professor Armin Gruen has spent two years creating computer models of the two largest statues that awed travellers across central Asia for 15 centuries. He says he could build copies correct down to the smallest detail. "We can't put the originals together again. They were exploded into thousands of pieces and some of the rubble has been dispersed or looted," Gruen told a news conference. "I believe new ones in concrete would be the solution." Not everyone happy Gruen, of the Institute of Geodesy and Photogrammetry in Zurich, is a key proponent of reconstruction - which backers say would get private financing and bring back tourists, and jobs, to the country's devastated Khazara region. But the idea is highly controversial and is rejected as profanation by the United Nations cultural agency UNESCO, which earlier this year declared the Bamiyan area in the highlands of central Afghanistan a World Heritage Site. "At UNESCO, we think it would be double treachery," said Muriel de Pierrebourg, spokeswoman for the Paris-based agency's Japanese Director General Koichiro Matsuura who has travelled to Kabul to discuss the future of Bamiyan with Afghan leaders. The view as it was in 2000 might just return Reconstruction of the 58 and 38 metre-high Buddhas would mean applying "a technique that has been largely abandoned and is rejected by the vast majority of specialists". Technically possible But for Gruen it is wrong to compare reconstruction with past attempts to rebuild ancient monuments. "We have detailed photographs of what they looked like in the 1970s. Our computer imaging is accurate. This would not be guesswork," he said. However, UNESCO prefers to leave the Buddhas' niches empty as a "memorial to destruction" and develop the Bamiyan area as a centre of cultural heritage, including a museum. Fascinating history The two colossal standing statues and a sitting one were carved over 300 years out of the pink sandstone of a vast cliff, and completed around the year 500, archaeologists say. At the time, the people of central Afghanistan - descendants of the Bakhtrian civilisation known to Alexander the Great and the ancient Romans - were Buddhists. Many however converted to Islam during the conquests of the 9th century. Historians say that, apart from occasional efforts by Muslim rulers to destroy them, they were treated with reverence by local people until Taliban leader Mulla Umar declared them an affront to Islam. When efforts to bring them down with artillery fire failed, Afghans say, sappers bored holes into the statues and shattered them with explosives. Reuters
(link)  Posted By: mariam   December 16th 2003, 2003 6:50 PM
Kabul: Partial Reconstructions is an installation
and public dialogue project that explores the multiple meanings and resonances of
the idea of reconstruction -- as both process and metaphor -- in the context of present-day Kabul.
www.kabul-reconstructions.net is an online discussion forum, information resource, and medium for the communication of questions and answers about the reconstruction between people inside and outside the city of Kabul itself.