Brent Huffman, a documentary maker and professor at Northwestern’s Medill (School of Journalism), is working on a film to bring exposure to the ancient Buddhist city of Mes Aynak in Afghanistan, set to be destroyed by a proposed copper mine. Archaeologists have been working restlessly under dangerous conditions to save all that they can before they’re forced to vacate the area at the end of the month.
Huffman’s Kickstarter has already exceeded its goal of $30,000, but you have until Sunday 5 am China time to donate, before Huffman and company head over to Afghanistan’s Logar province to document the final days of Mes Aynak. As he writes on Kickstarter:
But because of my passion for the site and Afghanistan, I have put my own money and limited funding from Northwestern University, the Global Heritage Fund, the Evanston Community Foundation, Bob Compton and the Asia Society into production of this documentary film. This work-in-progress is currently 60% complete.
I will use the money from this Kickstarter campaign to pay for a final production trip in December 2012 and for post-production of the film. Funds will be used on plane tickets, guest house costs, fixer fees, translation, and post production costs such as color correction, sound mixing, subtitling, etc.
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The Buddhas of Mes Aynak is the story of a race against time. This documentary follows an international team of archaeologists as they fight to save a 2,600-year-old Buddhist city in volatile Logar province, Afghanistan. Led by Philippe Marquis of DAFA, the French Archaeological Delegation in Afghanistan, the specialists attempt to document the ancient Buddhist city of Mes Aynak before its imminent destruction in December 2012. The location, called one of the most important archaeological discoveries in Asia, will be demolished by a Chinese government-owned mining company (MCC). MCC will exploit the location for over 100 billion dollars worth of copper located directly beneath the Buddhist temples.
It’s ironic and telling…centuries of wars against the Afghan people by the British, Russians and Americans failed to sway or conquer these hardy people. However, when the Chinese arrive with their mega-bucks, Afghan society and leaders kowtow to their new masters permitting them to wipe out priceless artifacts. The Aghanis should remember that when the great powers invaded China, the conquerors made off with thousands of years of Chinese heritage in the form of statues, priceless heirlooms and other artifacts. China has never forgotten this and has been constantly scouring museums and private collectors to reclaim their rightful heritage.
But money talks…how much of this filthy lucre in investment will end up in the pockets of the Karzai brothers and other seletced cronies, not to mention the selected Chinese themselves?
How many people will die either naturally or by other means in the exploit of this tainted copper?
Kudos to Brent Huffman and his crew for taking such a risk to produce a most worthwhile documentary about this important archeological monumnet in Asia.