Buddhism and copper: the ironies of history

The ironies of history are, of course, many. Mes Aynak is an incredibly beautiful Buddhist archaeological find, located in Afghanistan. It is sited atop what is claimed to be the world’s second largest deposit of copper. Mining that copper created the economics the constituted the conditions for Mes Aynak originally. Mining that copper now creates the conditions for the destruction of this both beautiful and historically important site.

For more on Mes Aynak, see: “The Temple Trail: Saving Mes Aynak” <http://thetempletrail.com/saving-mes-aynak/&gt;

The interconnectedness of all things is made manifest with this link. The Chinese mining corporation wants to change the deal, thus undermining (sorry, intentional pun) the future of development in Afghanistan, plans for which had depended on income from Mes Aynak and other mining operations. Is this good news? It may give archeologists more time to continue researching what seems to be one of the most important Silk Road sites for the history of Buddhism. And yet, the lack of development might lead to continued Taliban insurgency.

2 thoughts on “Buddhism and copper: the ironies of history

  1. Thanks for making me aware both of that Mes Aynak & of that blog in general. I wonder if it were a Christian site if it would be being treated the same way…..

  2. By analogy based on my small experience in nearby Central Asian countries, I would think that it would only be considered a “national treasure” worthy of protection were it an Islamic site. The value given to archaeological and historical sites all over the world seems to be largely based not in abstract principles, such as the value of religion, but rather in nationalistic discourses–that is, the role they can play in forming a particular version of social memory.

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