An earthquake on Monday (January 17th) in Baghis, Herat, and parts of Ghor caused severe damage to civilians. In addition to the casualties and damage to the residents of these provinces, yesterday’s earthquake has put the Minaret of Jam, the famous ancient monuments, on the verge of collapse. Local officials in Ghor said the minaret had been tilted to an unprecedented rate following yesterday’s quake. The head of the Information and Culture Department in Ghor said that floods have recently started around the minaret, and if it continues to snow and rain, the minaret may collapse by the end of the cold season. He acknowledged that the Taliban could not protect the ancient structure, stressing that the minaret would be destroyed if UNESCO do not pay attention.
The Minaret of Jam was built in the 12th century in Ghor province. This minaret is located next to the Hari River and, its height is 65 meters. In 2002, the UNESCO World Heritage Site announced that the Minaret of Jam was inscribed on the World Heritage List. Also, on December 10, 2020, it was registered as a cultural heritage of the Islamic world. Thus, the Minaret of Jam in Ghor is the second tallest historical monument. Archaeologists have always referred to it internationally as the oldest and most extraordinary brick minaret in the world.
This is the second time in recent months that officials have warned of the possibility of the monument collapsing. UNESCO allocated about $2 million to protect the minaret during Ashraf Ghani’s rule. But now there is no news about this money. Local Taliban officials say no money has been spent on protecting the minaret. Ashraf Ghani government officials are not even willing to answer. They do not speak about the money that was allocated to protect the minaret.
Unfortunately, in the current situation, it can be seen that no individual or institution cares about the possible fall of this minaret. Unaware that the Minaret of Jam represents Afghanistan in the world; The second tallest brick structure in the world, the cultural heritage of the world, and the cultural heritage of the Islamic world. During the rule of Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani, billions of dollars were poured into Afghanistan and went to the pockets of individuals as part of various programs, but at least some of that money was not spent on strengthening this historic structure. UNESCO, as the body responsible for this, has not paid any serious attention. The countries of the Islamic world do not care about the Minaret at all, and the Taliban, by their negligence, want to revive the memory of the destruction of Salsal and Shahmama by demolishing this minaret.
The current sensitive situation calls for activists in Afghanistan to focus more on preserving the minaret. They must put pressure on the Taliban and international institutions in every possible way to pay attention to the Minaret. The media and media activists, in addition to reporting on the condition of the minaret and drawing the attention of the institutions, hold the former officials accountable to determine who embezzled the money from the minaret. The corrupt officials who, by cooperating in previous governments, have paved the way for the possible collapse of this historic structure, should be ashamed.
The UNESCO Department of Cultural Heritage is responsible for the preservation of the Jam Minaret. This institution must start the process of repairing and strengthening this minaret as soon as possible under the supervision of the media and citizens. Islamic countries, which consider themselves members of the Islamic world, should also feel responsible for this. More importantly, the Taliban must preserve this historic structure under any circumstances. If the minaret collapses, history clearly states that the Jam minaret fell during the Taliban era. Therefore, Taliban leaders should realize the consequences of their negligence. If the indifference continues to the status of the Jam minaret, it will collapse and, the names of the incompetent officials will be written in black on the history page.
Source: Hasht-e Subh Daily