HERAT CITY (Pajhwok): Cultural and civil society activists in western Herat province on Sunday said the artworks of Afghanistan would be named by other countries as their own if the government’s negligence regarding their protection continued.
Herat activists believe the government’s carelessness about protection of cultural values would allow neighbouring countries to label Afghanistan artworks as their own values in UNESCO.
On December 16, the nomination document “Miniature Art” prepared jointly by Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran and Uzbekistan was included in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity despite Behzad’s school was founded in Afghanistan. Culturists say the main reason of the issue was negligence of the government.
Culture experts criticized the government, particularly the Ministry of Information and Culture, and said government’s negligence would allow other artworks to be claimed by other countries.
Wali Shah Bahrah, a culture expert in Herat, said that cultural values were identity and prestige of different periods of civilizations of the Afghan people and the government, particularly the Ministry of Information and Culture, was responsible for their protection.
He said Afghanistan had shared cultural values with neighbouring countries but they would be claimed in total by other countries if negligence in this regard continued.
A number of civil society activists and provincial council members also criticized the government over its negligence regarding protection of cultural works.
Sayed Ashraf Sadat, a civil society activist, talking to Pajhwok, said, “Unfortunately the government has no rules for protection of historical and cultural artworks, it even has no profile of historical works… and that is the reason our artworks are labelled as of other countries.”
A provincial council member, Sakina Hussaini, said, “Historical artworks are our identity; It was due to government negligence about the miniature that it was registered as value of other countries.”
However, Aria Raoufian, head of Herat information and culture department, rejected negligence of the government regarding protection of historical and cultural works.
He said a delegation from the central government visited the province and collected enough documents about intangible heritage which would be then shared with UNESCO.
He said that the government was attentive to protection of tangible and intangible heritage and a team from the central government had worked on the matter last week and collected enough information about artworks in the province.
The Ministry of Information and Culture also said they had complained to UNESCO about not registering the Miniature Art under the name of Afghanistan.