UN: Success or Failure?

29 09 2012

Buddhas of Bamiyan

Cred ca voi continua sa postez eseuri ce le-am scris pentru scoala. Poate ajuta pe cineva.

The question of UN’s efficiency has been controversial issue to the world for a long time and it still is currently. The main arguments that people have against it are the stalemate that the veto vote sometimes provokes when taking crucial decisions and planning actions; UN also is considered a vacuum of money: money which do not go into its original purpose: preserving peace everywhere. It’s of course true that the U.N. humanitarian help can be effective, and U.N. peacekeepers have helped stabilize many post-conflict situations, however, the ‘post-’ part of the ‘conflict’ might be a bitter enough argument against it as well: the inability of the UN to prevent a conflict/genocide/war from happening . One of the issues which UN has been unable to solve was the affair of the Buddhas of Bamiyan.

The two Buddhas, 175 and 120 feet tall, were believed to date to the seventh century. The statues were discovered by archeologists, standing 19-metre (62-foot) high along with scores of other historical relics in central Afghanistan near the ruins of giant statues destroyed by the Islamist Taliban seven years ago.[1]

Some 1,500 years ago, the valley was a busy node on the trade route between China and India, in a part of Asia where languages and religions – Buddhism, Hinduism and, later, Islam – coexisted. It was also home to a great Buddhist monastic center, one that nurtured epoch-changing religious concepts and produced a fantastic new art, including the world’s largest rock-carved figures of the standing Buddha.[2]

 It was in March 2001, when the Taliban and their sponsors in Al Qaeda were at the zenith of their power in Afghanistan, that militiamen, acting on an edict to take down the “gods of the infidels,” laid explosives at the base and the shoulders of the two Buddhas and blew them to pieces. To the outraged outside world, the act encapsulated the horrors of the Islamic fundamentalist government. Even Genghis Khan, who laid waste to this valley’s towns and population in the 13th century, had left the Buddhas standing.[3]

The UNESCO envoy, Pierre Lafrance, a former French ambassador to Pakistan, headed to Islamabad in hopes of negotiating with the Taliban. This however was already a lost cause, because of the UN’s lack of control over things such as a county’s sovereignty. The minister of the country was very stubborn about his religious beliefs, and has been quoted for saying „We do preserve our ancient heritage, but we cannot keep statues that are incompatible with our beliefs,”[4]

       UN’s UNESCO was in a very unfavorable position, just like Mr. Matsuura, the UNESCO’s director general has put it: „Words fail me to describe adequately my feelings of consternation and powerlessness as I see the reports of the irreversible damage that is being done to Afghanistan’s exceptional cultural heritage,”. After the collapse of the statues, in 2008, the UN has made a plan to start rebuilding the statues back to their former glorious shape. However, they will never replace the 2000 year old Buddhas and what they represented to humankind and its histoy.

Now, the reason for the creation of UNESCO, among others, was to prevent national and global cultural heritages from being destroyed or ruined. This time, it failed. The ruling Taliban authorities in Afghanistan have rejected a plea from the United Nations for them to stop destroying the country’s Buddhist statues. A plea was all that the UNESCO was able to give, and that’s why the UN is a failure in many cases: they can only watch the world burn, the cities crumble, and not be able to intervene with the situation, because the authorizes or the political structure of the country stands against it, and they have no right to go against a country’s sovereignty unless the country has agreed to give them the right to do so. So UN is too dependent on the political regime and religion to make changes when they really matter. UN tries, and maybe it would’ve done something if it had the chance, but in this case it did not. All the lost chances and the ruined artifacts and national heritages left behind to symbolize just a new ineffectiveness of the UN are and will forever be the reasons why UN is a failure.

[1] „Afghans Unearth 19-metre Buddha Statue.” Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations in NY. N.p., 8 Sept. 2008. Web. 23 Sept. 2012. <http://www.afghanistan-un.org/2008/09/afghans-unearth-19-metre-buddha-statue/&gt;.


[2] Cotter, Holland. „Buddhas of Bamiyan: Keys to Asian History.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 03 Mar. 2001. Web. 23 Sept. 2012. <http://www.nytimes.com/2001/03/03/world/buddhas-of-bamiyan-keys-to-asian-history.html&gt;.

[3] Gall, Carlotta. „THE REACH OF WAR; From Ruins of Afghan Buddhas, a History Grows.”The New York Times. The New York Times, 06 Dec. 2006. Web. 23 Sept. 2012. <http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/06/world/asia/06budd.html?pagewanted=all&gt;.

[4] „UN ‘fails’ to save Afghan Statues.” BBC News. BBC, 03 Apr. 2001. Web. 23 Sept. 2012. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/1201763.stm&gt;.