Destroying two 100-foot-tall Buddhas was high profile, but hardly all the Taliban did to Afghanistan's culture.
The world was shocked last March when the radical Islamic movement, which ruled most of the country for five years, reduced to rubble the two ancient statues. The Taliban forbade the display of art depicting living things. An untold number of artworks were destroyed.
Now that the Taliban have been ousted, Western press reports are sharing accounts of heroic efforts that were made to save Afghan culture from the Taliban.
For example, most of the film archive at the Afghan Film Studios was burned by the Taliban. But dedicated workers were able to hide some films. "We had to try to save these films, even though it was dangerous, because this is our life's work," the studio's director, Abdul Jamil Sarwar, told The Washington Post. "It's not brave, it's our job."
Another art-loving Afghan secretly touched up oil paintings at the National Gallery and elsewhere, using watercolors to hide any images that might cause the Taliban to destroy them. The ruse worked, and many paintings were saved.
This week, the Kabul Theater Company gave its first performance since before Taliban rule in the ruins of its bombed-out theater. Chief actor Najibullah Ghanzada told Agence France Press, that he hopes to write new plays now that it is allowed. "My dream is to have a proper theater, with real seats, a roof, and a stage," he said.
"Maybe even a curtain."
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