Brent E. Huffman: "Saving Mes Aynak"

Thursday May 7th 2015, 12:30 - 2:00PM
Event Sponsor
Humanities Center, Ho Center for Buddhist Studies at Stanford
Levinthal Hall, Stanford Humanities Center
Brent E. Huffman: "Saving Mes Aynak"


Brent E. Huffman

Medill - Northwestern University

Saving Mes Aynak is a documentary chronicling the fight to save a 2,000-year-old archaeology site in Afghanistan threatened by a Chinese copper mine. Mes Aynak, located in volatile Logar province, is comprised of an ancient 500,000 square meter Buddhist city on top of an even older Bronze age site. Discoveries at the site have the potential to redefine the history of Afghanistan and the history of Buddhism itself.

As the US Military and NATO leave Afghanistan in 2014, China is investing nearly three billion dollars in Afghanistan's untapped copper reserve, the second largest in the world worth an estimated $100 billion. The cash-strapped government of Afghanistan signed away the rights to this deposit with little oversight. The Chinese government-owned company plans to mine the copper using an open-pit style, the cheapest most environmentally destructive method.  By doing so, the archaeology site as well as the entire mountain range will be completely demolished.

Saving Mes Aynak is the story of a race against time. This documentary follows an international team of experts and archaeologists as they fight to save an ancient Buddhist site, examining the heated debate between cultural preservation and economic opportunity. The film will rely on the personal narratives of a diverse array of characters in order to tell a dramatic, multifaceted narrative

Saving Mes Aynak will look at the long-range effects of this potential destruction of the environment and priceless cultural heritage, as well as the violation of human rights of local Afghans who call Mes Aynak home. 

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