In a thrilling move, the Afghan government has declared its intention to rebuild at least one giant Buddha statue destroyed in 2001 by the Taliban government. This is one more little step of hope, shining a ray of light into a dark time in the Middle East and the world.
Like the beautiful gesture of rebuilding the Frauenkirche of Dresden (friends link), this is a statement by the government of hope for the future. Afghanistan is a poor nation, locked in a long-running battle. But the decision to rebuild these statues, relics from the days of the Silk Road, 1,500 years ago, is a bold step for cultural integrity, and local work. Hooray for them, and good luck! They need help fundraising. We'll see what happens. If the Frauenkirche can be rebuilt 60 years after being firebombed, we can hope that the stone Buddhas will stand again in Afghanistan.
You can read more history and details on the Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan at Wikipedia, ad details on the construction of the statues with good images here. The photo that decorates this entry is from the last website, http://www.photogrammetry.ethz.ch/research/bamiyan/buddha/statue.html, and they give credit there to other sites for the images.