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Monday, September 19, 2005

Buddhas in Bamiyan

In 2001 Afghanistan was ruled by a hardline Islamic regime known as the Taliban. This government decided to destroy two ancient statues of the Buddha because images of people are not allowed in the Muslim faith. The two statues were very large. One was fifty-three and the other thirty-eight metres tall. They were among the best loved historical sites in Afghanistan and many Afghans were devastated by their destruction. There were also protests from other countries, including Muslim nations like Pakistan and Malaysia. A collection of photographs of the site prior to the statues' demolition can be seen here.

If you go to BBC Radio 4's listen again page and click on Buddhas in Bamiyan you can hear Lyse Doucet's programme about the search for a third Buddha statue. If one is found it will be really good news for a country still mourning the loss of the other two. You should try and listen to it in the next few days because Radio 4 sometimes remove programmes from their archives. I haven't finished listening to it yet so I'll go back now and find out what happens.

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