Prompt: Should the Bamiyan Buddhas be reconstructed?
Write an argumentative essay that clearly identifies both your argument and counter-arguments. Your essay should include the following elements:
• A clear, concise, and defined thesis statement that occurs in the first paragraph of the essay.
• Clear and logical transitions between the introduction, body, and conclusion.
• Body paragraphs that include evidential support.
• Evidential support (whether factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal).
• A conclusion that does not simply restate the thesis, but readdresses it in light of the evidence provided.
Use at least 5 sources. Create an argument for why they should be reconstructed. Support the argument for reconstruction with sources. Also state counter arguments but create a unique compromise or way to do the rebuilding as the conclusion. At least 6 paragraphs.
Reconstructing the Bamiyan Buddhas
In the discourse of heritage protection, reconstruction is associated with the concept of restoration, in that it helps to prevent loss and avoid damage. There are various factors that highlight the importance of reconstruction, many of which relate to the implicit and explicit attributes of maintaining value. In the case of the Bamiyan Buddhas, the two monuments stood as an important archeological location for the people of Afghanistan. There are a number of reasons why the Bamiyan Buddhas should be reconstructed. Their presence is an expression of the history of the people in Afghanistan and is deeply rooted in their culture; thus, the Bamiyan Buddhas should be reconstructed.
An important part of reconstructing the Buddhas is to preserve heritage. According to Romey, the Bamiyan Buddhas are an important part of the Afghan culture (19). The cultural attributes that characterize the Afghan community are highly distinctive since it comprises a diverse group of individuals, including traders, missionaries, pilgrims, and artisans, among others who brought their country’s heritage into Afghan. This unique culture has been preserved through the various monuments that survived from one generation to another and form part of the country’s national identity. Therefore, the reconstruction will serve as a means of preserving the heritage of the Afghan community.
Reconstruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas is also necessary to serve as a symbolic gesture. As stated by Miller, the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas by the Taliban was an intentional attack on the heritage of Afghanistan (30). Miller explains that the Taliban had made their intentions clear prior to destroying the monuments and organized attacks. These acts of violence represented the political stand of the Taliban, which aimed at erasing the history of the Afghan. Moreover, the destruction was a religious act of cleansing the region of any forms of idols since they went against Islamic values (Miller 30). In this regard, failure to reconstruct the two Buddhas will imply that the Taliban had won in their motive to erase the history of the Afghan people. As highlighted by Miller, the reconstruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas will symbolize the triumph of the Afghan people over the Taliban (23). Moreover, the reconstruction of the monuments is important for the global community as well. Miller explains that the attack on the two Buddha monuments was accompanied by the attack on the twin towers in New York (29). In this regard, by destroying the Buddhist statues and the twin towers, the Taliban aimed at gaining support from the Muslim communities for an apocalyptic Islamism. As indicated by Karlstrom, it symbolized the need for a new social order (150). This proves that the Monument’s destruction can be regarded as an act of war, and their reconstruction symbolizes the win against the Taliban forces.
The reconstruction is also necessary for post-trauma recovery (Calame and Sechler 59). The destruction of the monuments was part of their genocidal campaign to cleanse the region of any structure that contradicted their beliefs. Such gruesome acts seemed to have traumatized the people residing in the region and represented crimes against humanity (Miller 40). The reconstruction of the Buddhas would act as a key driver of sustainable development, especially in post-trauma circumstances. Considering that the people of Afghanistan underwent difficult conditions in the hands of the Taliban, restoring the monuments would be a means of creating new values and exacerbate the destructive effects of the events that transpired during the period in which the monuments were destroyed.
Although reconstruction serves beneficial ends, it would be argued as an error founded on ethical, philosophical, and aesthetic premises. Experts argue that in case a replica structure is built, its historical value would be lost because the materials used to reconstruct are different (Janowski 47). The empty spaces where the monuments were built are a cue and testament of the Taliban’s callous treatment. The present condition of the Buddha’s is itself a manifestation of history and reconstruction would erase it. Thus, those opposing the rebuilding of the monuments indicate that their reconstruction erases part of the history, as the present ruins represent a part of the history. Hence, they argue that restoration should be considered with the aim of resurrecting the social and historical morals held in the heaps of debris as opposed to reconstructing the monuments.
In conclusion, reconstruction of the Bamiyan Buddha’s is important because it plays an important part in protecting the heritage of the Afghan citizens both economically and politically. The archeological sites attracted different people who contributed to the culture and values of the citizens. Their reconstruction could assist the people in the town to recover from post-traumatic stress inflicted by the Taliban and also be a reference point in the history of Afghanis. However, proponents argue that rebuilding would negatively impact the historical, economic, and political basis of the monuments and society. A reproduction of the original work would threaten the existing history that is deeply rooted in the culture. Besides, unlike reconstruction, restoration stands for reviving the pre-existing imaginative, historical, and cultural values of the community. Reconstruction and restoration stand to realize a well-intentioned end and contribute to the commercial and governmental well-being of the Afghani people.
Calame, Jon, and Kirstin Sechler. “Is Preservation Missing the Point? Cultural Heritage in the Service of Social Development.” Future Anterior: Journal of Historic Preservation, History, Theory, and Criticism, vol. 1, no. 1, 2004, pp. 57–63. ,
JANOWSKI, JAMES. “Bringing Back Bamiyan’s Buddhas.” Journal of Applied Philosophy, vol. 28, no. 1, 2011, pp. 44-64.
Karlström, Anna. “Local heritage and the problem with conversion.” Transcending the Culture–Nature Divide in Cultural Heritage, 2013.
Miller, Steven. “Statues Also Die.” War after Death, 2014, pp. 18-50.
Romey, Kristin M. “The Race to Save Afghan Culture.” Archaeology, vol. 55, no. 3, 2002, pp. 18–25.