saving pandora all over again

i like stories like avatar. let’s be honest, the movie was a hit! the animations were brilliant and the plot even got some hardline pragmatics to shed a tear or two in the darkness of the cinema. after all, why should it be otherwise if you watch people or even blue long legged creatures on a planet far away struggle for their heritage, for the beauty and the nature they call their home and family. we understand their pain. we understand their cry to defend what is true and dear to them. and we sit in the cinema at the edges of our seats taken by the brutal battle and the even more cruel mindset of those villains who dare to damage such a treasure just for the sake of economic benefit and resources.

yesterday i was equally at the edge of my seat, holding on to the table in front of me trying to keep my balance as the news threatened to sweep me off my feet, when i heard about mes aynak. after all, while mes aynak may sound like a far away country in an ever more far away land and it is but all too easy to picture blue or green and yellow creatures inhabiting this land, its planet is the earth and its country is afghanistan.

to most of us who know afghanistan from nothing more but battles and invasions, from soviet troops and american wars against terrorism, mes aynak might as well be on a different planet, as both the country and the people are so far away and foreign to us. yet as we have seen on the planet of pandora, in the star system of alpha centauri, or let’s just say in the warmth and comfort of a theater seat, we are able to understand the situation unfolding before our eyes and feel the character’s suffering, even if the story is fictional. so let’s not take the old excuse of denying interest in the matter because it is so far away and all to foreign for us to understand.

instead, let me fill you in on the story of avatar 2014. buckle your seat belts and get the popcorn ready, because this story does not happen on your screens or in a hollywood studio but here and now and right in front of all of us. the unobtanium of the movie is copper in mes aynak. and while there are no long legged creatures or whispering trees living above this economic value, it is the historic traces of buddhist culture about 2000 years of age that sits right there on these very mountains. next year the area is planned to be blown into pieces as this is the cheapest way to get the buried treasure. this time, however, it is not a colonel miles quaritch, muscular body and scars on his face, to order this attack but it is a chinese state owned mining company with its money muscles flexed and the many scars of past destruction hid behind the asian smile. yet just like in the movie the scientists and deserters who see the true value and proclaim it are shut up. even unesco, the keeper of world heritage, turns its shoulder to the cause, which is pleasurable indeed as it avoids diplomatic issues and grants a great view at machu picchu instead. after all, it is old and beautiful and sits on a mountain as well. let’s not tell anybody about mes aynak and nobody will ever know what happened there. we can still blame the toxic crater and the contamination of water arising from the detonation on the taliban! good plan! good plan! and backslapping.

and cut! the end.

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