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ANT204H1 Lecture Notes - Hazaras, Mujahideen, European Colonialism

Course Code
Leslie Jermyn

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Thursday May 21 st
, 2009
Cold Wars and Proxy Wars
Food insecurity in Darfur in 1990s (famine) – last lecture –
- Coffee agreement collapsed – ICA (so government had to ask IMF for help
- IMF imposed SAPs which had to allow import of cheap foreign food (USA food flooded market which made it
difficult for farmers to survive)
1. Film – Lost Treasures of Afghanistan (filmed after initial USA bombing attack, and in the middle of the
ongoing conflict)
2. Intro
3. The “End” of Colonialism
4. Cold War
5. Proxy Wars and Terrorism
6. In Retrospect
Film Questions
- How do the directors explain what happened? How do they deal with it? Do they explain it, or leave it unexplained?
- How are the Taliban portrayed? How are they spoken about?
- If you knew nothing about the situation, what would you imagine was going on in Afghanistan in 2006?
- To what extent do we learn anything about the complexities of Afghanistan? How do they portray the society?
- Who are the “good” Muslims/Afghans in the film? What makes them good? How are we sympathetic towards
- War and terrorism has devastated Afghan cultural legacy in the last few years; Extremists have destroyed their
-“Treasures” represent the past culture, to reclaim their past, Afghans look to their lost treasures
-Bamiyan valley – dominated by Buddhist things that dominated years ago, as it spread from China, it had some
stuff here too. Bamiyan is called “valley of the Gods” because of the giant Buddhist statues, and then the Taliban
government blew up the 1000 feel structures Destroyed part of Afghan heritage
oTwo Buddha structures were abolished by Taliban, but there is said to be a third one left
oIt is called the Sleeping Buddah of Bamiyan – as big as Eiffel Tower, apparently its hidden and
undiscovered – the guy in the movie wants to find it
- Uncovered women and men in archaeological finds, all of them were covered in solid gold ornaments. Estimated
they were buried along the time of Christ. They seemed to be royal people.
- 1979 – Soviet Union invaded and battled the Mujahadeen (?)
- Soviets were driven out, and Afghan warlords battled over the soils
- In 1993, a rocket crashed into the national museum, it was feared its antiquities had been destroyed or looted, and it
was about to get worse
- 1996 – Taliban fundamentalists pushed back the war lords and seemed to offer peace. But one of their first acts ws
to lynch one of the former Soviet people (?)
- Taliban defeated chaos with strict new rules, the law of the Quran
oIf someone steals, you cut off their hand
oIf someone commits murder, you are executed
oHarsh treatment of women
oQUran prohibits portraying human things – drawing or sculpting living things are bad
- So Taliban destruction shifted into high gear – Taliban smashed pieces at the national museum, slashed paintings,
the film archive was burned, and the radical ideology began destroying lives
- Taluban said Hazaras were not Muslims and they should be killed – they did “ethnic cleansing”
oKilled 2000-3000 Hazaras in raids
- Taliban did not like paintings with creations of living people, so the paintings were retouched to take away the
offensive material (this was illegal activity and considered treason)
- There is Greek influence in Afghanistan because of Alexander the Great. Buddhism from India spread to
Afghanistan too, so there was sort of a mix of both things in their art. The image of the Buddha is said to be
influenced by the image of Apollo (A Greek god)
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