Afghanistan Lost.

It’s impossible to think of Afghanistan now without a shudder of responsibility. The West: hypocritical, unreliable, unethical.

See also 056 h. & 057

Lapis Lazuli.

A favourite semi-precious stone and paint colour. The finest, deepest ultramarine blues of lapis are dazzling. The lions’ share of natural lapis comes from the remote Badakhshan province in NE Afghanistan.

The gold veining is pyrite or ‘fool’s gold’ and an excess of this or other materials make the stone less pure, less valuable. Only image 058 e. is without impurities. Why? I’ve used the pyrite as irony. The mining of lapis has long been in the hands of Afghani warlords despite the international occupation. Buy lapis and you buy into the Taliban. Afghanistan’s Rich Cultural History

Minaret of Jam

Wondrously carved with highly ornate Islamic patterns, coloured tiles, calligraphy and verses from the Qur’an, the 12th century Minaret of Jam is located in remote, inaccessible western Afghanistan. It’s the second tallest minaret in the world (< 60 metres), but in a very poor state of repair.

The Two Giant Buddhas of Bamiyan.

The Taliban had come to power in Afghanistan in 1996. By early 2001 their extremism led to a jihad like destructive rampage against all non-Islamic art, obliterating the country’s magnificent rich pre-Islamic culture to the horror of the onlooking world.

Two magnificent buddhas carved into the rock face at Bamiyan, that stood 55metres and 38 metres tall were world renowned stunning giants, not only in size, but in technical skill and beauty. They drew audiences to them throughout the world, bringing tourists and their money. The Taliban saw these buddhas as false idols, not heritage and dramatically destroyed these world class gems.

The Women of Afghanistan?

I don’t know, but the fear of violence if they go to school, college, to work has effectively stopped them in their tracks.