|Hatra, a fortified city that withstood attack by the Romans|
|Bamiyan Buddhas. Left, after 1,500 years. Right, after 1,500 years and 25 days|
I've blogged about the Bamiyan Buddhas before, in 2011. At that time I was exercised by the debate whether they should be left as rubble; a debate that so far as I know continues. But now the Buddha destruction has a more urgent relevance. The annihilation of these ancient sandstone carvings, once the world's tallest Buddhas, in an act of destruction that shocked the world, doubtless inspired the recent vandalism of Iraqi heritage sites by Islamic State fighters. And it's set me thinking about iconoclasm generally. Islamic State, which controls large areas of Iraq and Syria, says shrines and statues are "false idols" that have to be smashed. Carved to the glory of God, and in an act of performance art, smashed to the glory of God. It could be argued, though not by me, that one act is as valid as the other. More about this when my thoughts are in order.
|Mirza Hussain today, from the BBC website|