The bilingual site devoted to the cultural life in Sri Lanka and in France                                                        
Le site bilingue consacré à la vie culturelle au Sri Lanka et en France

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Fascination of the body

Paul Cézanne

In the Light of Gauguin


Jean de La Fontaine

Malraux / Segalen


Pigeon houses in Quercy






Death Penalty

Mental Health



Miniatures of Kangra, India



Afghanistan : the giant Buddhas are destroyed

"Crimes against culture should not go unpunished."

A crime against culture has been commited (...)
This crime has been cooly and deliberately perpetrated (...)
No voice has been able to make talibans see reason (...)
There was the belief that we were definitively entered into a new era, with more respect and esteem towards our heritage (...) The international community should not remain passive, and not tolerate any more crimes against cultural properties (...)

Koïchiro Matsuura
General Director of Unesco
Le Monde 16th March 2001.

Sri Lanka proposes to buy the pre-islamic Afghan sculptures.

AFP 14.03.2001


Afghan Taliban Shells Buddhas, U.N. Warns

Sayed Salahuddin, Reuters, 2 March 2001

Afghanistan's ruling Taliban were reported on Friday to have shelled world-famous, rock-hewn Buddhas as a U.N. envoy warned them of a devastating reaction if they carried out a plan to destroy all of the country's historic statues...

But the edict from Taliban leader Mullah Mohamad Omar that all statues in Afghanistan should be destroyed because they are un-Islamic has angered countries around the world and across religions...

There was no official comment from the Taliban, who have rejected international appeals -- including from Islamic countries -- to save the country's rich cultural past at the heart of the ancient Silk Road...

Since seizing power in 1996, the Taliban has also barred women from schools and work and going out without wearing the all-enveloping burqa veil and ordered men to grow long beards...

Bamiyan : Lanka leads crusade against Taliban

Sunday Times - 4 March 2001

Photo : Raoul Coutard.

"As you are no doubt aware the Government and people of Sri Lanka, a predominantly Buddhist country are deeply concerned at the prospect that the world-renowned Buddha statues which are located in the Bamiyan province of Afghanistan might be destroyed on the decree of the Taliban authorities.

My Minister of Foreign Affairs has taken steps to contact the Governments of various countries, both Buddhist and non-Buddhist, with a view to making representations to the Taliban authorities to desist from such a senseless course of conduct.

During my recent visit to New Delhi, I discussed this grave question with the Prime Minister of India. He too takes the view that everything possible should be done to prevent the occurrence of a catastrophe of such monumental proportions. The Government of India is willing to give shelter in India to these priceless examples of early Buddhist sculpture that are found in Afghanistan.

If there is any international operation being mounted to rescue the objects that are in danger in Afghanistan my Government would be willing to share in the expenses that such a rescue operation would entail.

I wish to express my appreciation of the stand that you have publicly taken in this matter, and I urge you to continue your efforts to bring about a satisfactory solution to this problem which confronts the international community.

Sri Lanka is co-sponsoring a resolution under Agenda Item 46 to be introduced in the General Assembly by Germany. This resolution strongly urges the Taliban to review its decision of 26 February 2001 and to stop its implementation; strongly urges the Taliban to take immediate action to prevent the further destruction of the irreplaceable relics of Afghanistan’s heritage; strongly calls upon the Taliban to abide by their previous commitments to protect Afghanistan’s cultural heritage from all acts of vandalism, damage and theft; and strongly calls upon all Member States to take appropriate measures to safeguard the sculptures, including if necessary their temporary relocation.

The Government of Sri Lanka stands ready and willing to do everything within its own capacity, and to join all international endeavours, to save from destruction these objects of particular reverence to Buddhists which, indeed, belong to the ancient heritage of all mankind".

President Chandrika Kumaratunga.
Communication sent to
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

The Island - 9 March 2001.

Lanka bids to save statues in Afghanistan

The Island - 2 march 2001

Sri Lanka yesterday launched a massive worldwide diplomatic campaign against the destruction of priceless Buddha statues by the Taleban regime in Afghanistan with a presidential advisor calling on the government press for further sanctions against the Afghan regime.

Former Cultural Affairs Minister Lakshman Jayakody, now an advisor to President Kumaratunga, told The Sunday Times yesterday he was proposing sanctions against Afghanistan and any country that willfully destroyed world heritage monuments or sites. Amidst reports that the Taleban regime had on Friday started using mortars and cannons to destroy statues including one of the most famous Buddha statues in Bamiyan, Mr. Jayakody said Sri Lanka should move directly with the UN bodies in a global campaign against wanton vandalism of heritage.

On Friday, Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar called a news conference to announce Sri Lanka's strategy in getting the international community to stop the vandalism in Afghanistan. Sri Lanka has asked its Islamabad High Commissioner Srilal Weerasooriya to meet diplomats there and work out a joint effort to prevent further destruction of Buddhist monuments in Afghanistan.

Sri Lanka's Mahanayakes have also sent a joint appeal to international Buddhist organisations to carry out a worldwide protest.

Bamiyan : the International Protest

In Afghanistan,
Taliban make statues dying too

(Le Monde 27th February 2001)


Jacques Chirac, President of the French Republic : " anxiety and consternation" .

"In such circumstances, only UNESCO can mobilize without delay the international community in order to prevent the execution of this desastrous project."

Jack Lang, Minister of Education : " a crime".

"The destruction of statues, which are some masterpieces of the pre-islamic buddhism, is a crime that is perpetred against the culture and the history of humanity. I am deeply revolted and outraged by the destruction of this priceless heritage. "

French Minister of Foreign Affairs : "hostility"

"These attitudes will not lead to an improvement of the relationships of Talibans with the international community. As long as Talibans will not deeply modify their behaviours on terrorism, drugs, human rights, and particularly the conditions of women, the search for a solution through negociations in order to restore peace in Afghanistan, the international community will remain hostile"

EUROPEAN UNION : "inestimable"

"Works of art in Afghanistan have a historical inestimable value. The richness of its cultural heritage is of the greatest importance not only for this country but also for all human beings."

UNITED STATES : "tolerance"

"This decision is in contradiction with one of the fundamental principles of Islam : tolerance towards other religions."

Metroplitan Museum of Art de New-York : " cultural heritage"

"We deplore the destruction of important examples of the world's cultural heritage".

RUSSIA : "world heritage"

This vandalism attests the hostility of Talibans concerning human values. It is an attack on cultural and historical heritage, not only of the people of Afghanistan, but also of the whole humanity".

PAKISTAN : "protection"

"Pakistan shares the concerns of the international community about the decision of the Afghan Government. We request this government to take necessary measures in order to completely protect historical monuments, sites and historical masterpieces."

(Information Nouvelobs 9th March 2001)

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"In the Entangled Web"
A solo exhibition
by Anoli Perera

Recent Exhibition at Barefoot Gallery
704, Galle Road, Colombo
Tel : 00 94 1 58 93 05

The present work - like most of the previous realisations of Anoli Perera - takes 'woman', and this time particularly the 'affluent woman of the middle class', appoint of departure as well as the basic unit of interrogation.

"I use in my work a lot of lace, beads, thread, and embroidery. These are the conventionally assigned items of preoccupation and adoration for woman.... So I take them as my raw material.

I weave my work like a spider weaving its web.

I see the woman as that spider.
She weaves her complex net of social, economic and cultural relationships around her.
It becomes her safety net as well as the nurturing cocoon of the family to whom she is bound."

Anoli Perera

Read more : Prasanna Ratnayake, in Sunday Observer, 13th May 2001.

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