Cinema in Post-Taliban Afghanistan

  • Ron Holloway


CINEMA IN POST-TALIBAN AFGHANISTAN Bamyan BuddhasWhen the giant Buddhas on the Silk Road at Bamyan were destroyed by radical Taliban clerics in March of 2001 in accordance with a strict interpretation of Islamic Sharia law, even the Afghan populace was stunned by the disrespect for their own cultural heritage. For in July of 1999 the leading Sharia cleric, Mullah Mohammed Omar, had issued an order for the preservation of the Bamyan Buddhas on the grounds that the Afghanistan Buddhist population scarcely existed, thus removing the possibility of the statues being worshipped. But when 400 radical Taliban clerics launched a ban on all forms of imagery - including music, sports, and television - they reached a questionable consensus that the statues were an affront to Islam. So Mullah Mohammed Omar changed his mind. "Muslims should be proud of smashing idols," he said. "It has given praise to God that...