Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Buddhist Artefacts Destroyed in the Maldives

Tragedy recently struck in the Maldives. Amid the current political turmoil, protecting archaeological heritage is probably not a high priority. Unfortunately, vandals attacked the National Museum and destroyed "all but two or three" of about 30 Buddhist statues, some dating to the 6th century BC.

The statues are said to be irrevocably destroyed. The incident echoes the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas by the Taliban in 2001, and for me, the mindless destruction of the Babri Masjid in India. All three incidents involve people destroying religious archaeological artefacts because they disagree with the religions that inspired them.

Like it or not, these things are our heritage, and they are irreplaceable.

Image: Ali Waheed, Director of the National Museum. Photo by Chiara Goia for The New York Times.

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