This one makes my heart ache. I know how it will come out. Can you guess? An article in Huffington Post tells the sad story: Chinese Copper Mine in Afghanistan Threatens Excavation of 2600 Year-old Buddhist Monastery. It seems Afghanistan has yielded an incredibly rich historical find - - a Buddhist monastery that was one of the most important oases on the Silk Road. Enough historical treasures are coming to light, included 150 huge Buddha images so far, to "fill the Afghanistan National Museum," according to one of the archeaologists at the dig. Should be a cause to celebrate, right? Not so fast - - a vast wealth of copper could potentially be dug out of the ground directly underneath the monastery. The Chinese have already kicked in 3.5 billion dollars to build the mine and extract the copper. Guess who will win in this struggle: the historical site or the big bucks?
The archaeologists say it will take ten years to preserve the absolutely priceless historical relics that are mostly still buried. It will take even three years to catalog all that lies below. The Chinese and their Afghan cronies have given the historians a brief deadline that ran out in August, so they could be evicted at any time. How utterly tragic. Just like the Bamiyan Buddhas that vanished through ignorance and greed, likewise this treasure-trove of Buddhist history is about to disappear. (As a footnote, Buddhism itself is 2,550 years old. I believe the dates on this article are imprecise.)