Monday, November 4, 2019

The Lost Buddhas of Afghanistan (video)

David Adams (Discovery 1999/Dharma Docs, 2017); Dhr. Seven, A. Larson, Wisdom Quarterly

The Lost Buddhas of Bamiyan, Afghanistan
By good fortune this photo-journalist David Adams' documentary, produced as part of the "Journeys to the Ends of the Earth" series for the Discovery Channel in 1999, turned out to be historic:

Big Buddha, Bamiyan Valley
It was filmed a few years before the destruction of the Bamiyan statues [by the CIA-ISI creation "the Taliban] and the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan using 9/11 as a pretext when Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Powell bamboozled the country and the world into a world that continues today.]

This is some of the last footage of the earliest Buddhist statues in the world and their surroundings in the Bamiyan Valley before their destruction. There must be much more footage in the hands of the makers of the film than shown here, which may one day be released for its historical value.

Kakrak, Bamiyan Valley
Before reaching Bamiyan, however, the man at the center of the film, photo-journalist David Adams, the photo-journalist at the center of the film, travels through a dangerous and unyielding country, starting from the ancient and current capital Kabul, making detours around the country to eventually reach Bamiyan just a few hundred kilometers north of Kabul.

Along the way viewers see the destruction of this turbulent country, which various empires (USA, USSR, UK, Kushan, Indian/Ashokan, Mongolian/Genghis Khan, Pakistani, Persian/Iranian, Scythian when it was the home of the historical Buddha called Kapilavastu, Greco-Buddhist Bactrian, Gandharan, et al.) have for centuries kept at war.

This film is as much about Afghanistan at present as it is about hinting at its glorious past, which perhaps only adds to its pathos.

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