Thursday, April 18, 2013

Saving the Buddhas of Mes Aynak (Afghanistan)

THE BUDDHAS OF MES AYNAK (teaser trailer)

Gold plated meditating Buddha
“The Buddhas of Mes Aynak” page on succeeded! It met its initial goal of $30,000 to promote the preservation of perhaps the world's greatest Buddhist archeological site, located in war torn Afghanistan which is being destroyed by US greed and Chinese opportunism.
The updated ambition is to aim at stretching the goal to $40,000. This would enable the project to hire a composer, sound mixer, and additional film editors.  
Afghan archeologists struggle to document treasure before Chinese government mining interests destroy them and plunder the wealth of metal and mineral treasures on the  site.
The additional funds would also allow for a creation of a Thai section to the film. It would become composed of interviews with people in Thailand, one of the most Theravada Buddhist countries in the world, who have been fighting to protect Mes Aynak ("Little Copper Well").
Original goal
Workers continue to uncover treasures as the Chinese eagerly approach with dreams of billions of dollars worth of raw ingredients for iPhones and other electronics.
The original goal of the campaign was to fund the production of a documentary film (segments of which have already been featured by BBC, NPR, Wisdom Quarterly, CNN, The Washington Post, PRI, Huffington Post, etc.) about the imminent destruction of the ancient Buddhist city and massive temple complex at Mes Aynak, Afghanistan.

The U.S. War on Afghanistan has so destabilized the country that it is desperate for foreign investments and the development of Afghanistan's natural resources. Enter the newly capitalist Chinese government. It plans to exploit the mineral wealth of this ancient copper, gold, and rare earth mine beginning December 2012. 
The film will also document the work of international archaeologists and all of their findings at Mes Aynak. 
Brent E. Huffman is a documentary filmmaker and professor at Northwestern Univ., working since 2011 on a story about this ancient Buddhist city now converted to Islam and populated by Pashtuns. Having felt deeply connected with Afghanistan and the Afghan people while covering the first democratic presidential elections in 2004, he vowed to do something to bring this amazing land and its people to the attention of the world.
Photographer documents recently uncovered "gray earth" (shakya) structure.
Huffman first visited Mes Aynak in June of 2011 and immediately fell in love. He felt the need to do everything in his power to save its cultural heritage for future generations of both local Afghans and the international community.  
In addition to destroying one of Afghanistan’s most important archaeological sites yet discovered, the Chinese copper mine will devastate the environment by polluting the land and poisoning the water supply in Logar province, killing all life forms in the area.
The money raised in this expanded campaign will goes toward documenting the site and its eventual disposition by film. This will create international awareness that may save Mes Aynak and prevent the destruction of other Afghan cultural sites located on or near other mineral sources. 
The Film: The Buddhas of Mes Aynak 
A documentary by Brent E. Huffman
This is a story of a race against time. The documentary follows an international team of archaeologists fighting to save a 2,600-year-old Buddhist city and temple complex in volatile Logar province, Afghanistan.
Led by Philippe Marquis of DAFA, the French Archaeological Delegation in Afghanistan, the specialists attempt to document ancient Mes Aynak before it is destroyed and buried.
The location, called one of the most important archaeological discoveries in all of Asia (Afghanistan is in Central Asia, bordering India and an ancient Indian territory known as Gandhara), will be demolished by the Chinese government-owned mining company MCC. MCC will exploit the location for over 100 billion dollars worth of copper located directly beneath the Buddhist temples and precious reliquary burial mounds on the site. 
The film will also examine the cultural and historical significance of the Mes Aynak Buddhist complex and show in vivid detail what life was like for the Buddhist nuns and monks who lived, meditated, and attained enlightenment there.
Gorgeous figures in the Western-influenced Gandhara-style predating Indian depictions
Mes Aynak is desert region 15.5 miles (25 kms) southeast of the capital of Kabul.
It is an enormous archaeological treasure trove 400,000 square feet in size. It is an ancient Buddhist monastic complex with abbeys, halls, courts, extensive wall frescos, massive devotional temples, and more than 200 life-sized Buddha statues comprising a discovery of immense global significance.
At the same time, Mes Aynak is home to the largest undeveloped copper reserve in the world.  Directly beneath the Buddhist site lie mineral deposits worth an estimated $100 billion (a figure that increases as the dollar and other international currencies plunge).
The fate of the ancient Buddhist artifacts hangs in the balance as the Chinese begin planning their destructive exploitation using open-pit style copper mining techniques. More

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