Break the Chain UNESCO's Petition for
Afghan Heritage

Exclusive (3/20/2001) Afghanistan's ruling Taliban party has repeatedly fallen under fire for human rights violations and other infractions that, to western society, appear barbaric. Here's another attempt to affect change through inaction.

Please sign and also forward this e-mail to friends, family, news groups, mailing lists etc. DO NOT SIGN TWICE. DO NOT LET IT DEAD END. IF YOU ARE UNABLE OR UNWILLING TO SIGN I, EITHER FORWARD IT TO OTHERS OR RETURN TO unesco.press@unesco.org -To avoid adding ">>>" onto the chain, please preferably cut & paste the entire petition and list of names into a new message prior to re-sending. -THE 100th, 200th, 300th NAME/PERSON to sign is requested to also forward the updated list of signatures back to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization at e-mail: " unesco.press@unesco.org "

UNESCO International Petition to Safeguard Afghanistan Cultural Heritage

We, the undersigned, plead for an immediate end to the Taliban edict to demolish Afghanistan's cultural heritage. We further urge the Taliban spiritual leader Mullah Mohammed Omar to enter into dialogue with the international community -including the Arab and Islamic governments that overwhelmingly have condemned these actions - in order to explore proposals to safeguard this irreplaceable cultural heritage from further, senseless destruction.

The edict of the 26th of February 2001 to destroy pre- Islamic and Buddhist objects-including the world's largest standing Buddha statues at Bamiyan-runs counter to all the basic principles of respect, tolerance and the wisdom upon which Islam is based, and is a breach of the Taliban pledge made in 1999. We plead with Taliban authorities to stop this irreversible assault on two millennia of Afghanistan's artistic and cultural achievements, treasured not only as the spiritual birthright of Buddhists everywhere but also as a universal cultural heritage for people of all faiths and nationalities.

Afghanistan's ruling Taliban party has graced Break the Chain's pages before. A long list of reported injustices is attributed to them. Not long ago, Break the chain responded to a similar petition to stop the Taliban's War on Women.

This one appears to be slightly more legitimate. UNESCO has a website dedicted to the Afghan Cultural Heritage Crisis and the petition is listed there (http://www.unesco.org/opi2/afghan-crisis/). One problem with this one is that it doesn't tell you how the petition will be used. Besides, as this news report points out, it's already too late.

Break the Chain recommends against signing ANY e-petition because there are no privacy protections. In the case of this one, your name, location and e-mail address will be passed to strangers without your control or knowledge. It would be very easy for a shady character to use that information against you. Given the uncertain payoff from signing it, it hardly seems worth it. Also, policy-makers rarely lend much weight to a list of "e-signatures" because such a thing is too easy to fake. Break this Chain!

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