The Buddhas that were carved in the 6th century into the side of a cliff of the Bamyan valley, today located in Afghanistan, were destroyed in March 2001 by the Taliban in an act of religious iconoclasm. It was seen as an act of extreme religious intolerance and widely condemned. Why were these monumental sandstone statues so important to humankind? They were once part of the Silk Road, an ancient caravan route connecting the markets of China with those of the Western world – think Marco Polo. It wasn’t just goods that traveled on this road, but ideas as well. And thus the Bamiyan valley with its Buddhist monasteries turned into a thriving center for religion, philosophy, and art. These statues weren’t just symbols for one religion, they stood for humankind’s sharpest weapon – its mind that once awaken defies all boundaries and chains. But don’t get as righteously outraged about ‘them’ just yet.