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Should the Afghan Buddhas be rebuilt?For centuries they stood, two monumental ancient statues of Buddha carved into the cliffs of Bamiyan, loved and revered by generations of Afghans – only to be pulverized by the Taliban in an act of cultural genocide.Archaeologists and restorers, mostly Afghan, German, Japanese and French, working in the Bamiyan Valley in central Afghanistan will meet from Dec. 1-3 in Munich, Germany.All Afghans, especially the peasants tending potatoes at the front of the cliffs, mourn the loss of the tutelary silhouettes – the largest, the Salsal, was 56 meters high; its feminine version, the Shamama, 38 meters.Greatly weakened, the cliff threatens collapse, Julio Bendezu-Sarmiento adds.German restorers, in favor of reconstructing the statues, have already rebuilt the feet of the smaller Buddha, nearly 10 meters long.The debate surrounding the Buddhas is not only technical, says Masanori Nagaoka, director of cultural heritage at UNESCO in Kabul, arguing that consideration must also be given to ethical, humanitarian and human rights points of view.
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