Expert Panel Discussion at IDFA

While large crowds packed sold-out screenings of Saving Mes Aynak at this year's largest documentary film festival in the world -  IDFA (International Documentary Festival Amsterdam) - a panel discussion on Mes Aynak around the festival intrigued audience members who wanted more.

On the panel were those closest to the issue: director Brent E. Huffman; Experts Stephen Carter, Dr. Stefan Baums, Dr. Paul van der Velde, and Paula de Wijs; and Afghan diaspora representatives Matin Wasei and Nadie Tarzi.

The discussion inspired audiences to take action for Mes Aynak by sharing the urgent issues and recent developments at the site, including the startling news of looting now happening. For those who missed it, you can watch the full discussion here.

Panelists highlights:


“These accusations that artifacts are being stolen from Mes Aynak is heart-breaking, and I’m a little shaken by that.”
- Brent E. Huffman, Director of Saving Mes Aynak


“Nowadays, we get the idea of Afghanistan being a very aggressive kind of country. But in the past, it has been completely different...  The culture of Afghanistan, especially in Mes Aynak, cannot be under-estimated.”
- Dr. Paul van der Velde, Professor of Asian Religions
Radboud University of Nijmegen

“The problem here... of looting and destruction Mes Aynak seems to be destined to... is that when we lose objects on sites, we lose data. We lose very important information that tells a story – and who’s story but of the people of Afghanistan, and the people of the World.” 
- Nadia Tarzi, Executive Director and Founder of the
Association for the Protection of Afghan Archaeology


“In my memory, and I think in everyone's memory, are still those images of the Bamiyan Buddhas that were blown up...  and I felt ashamed of that. I didn't do it, nobody here feels that they are somehow related. But in a sense, we are responsible for it… So then I realized – I had to do something about Mes Aynak”
- Matin Wasei, Afghan Diaspora Representative
Creator of "Save Mes Aynak" Petition


Watch the video of the full discussion.