The Trigger: From Afghanistan to Ethiopia


The trigger

The Philosophy

AIZON Arboretum Project

Agro Ecological Zones

Bezawit Royal Palace Forest Protection and forested Corridor along the Blue Nile River

Protection of the “Yebelsa” Spring Water

Yebelsa Public Library Project

Ancient Books of Lake Tana Region

Promoting and testing low Cost Housing Techniques

Major Constraints in Developing AIZON Projects in Ethiopia

AIZON Partners/Founders


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The Trigger: From Afghanistan to Ethiopia

On the 26 February 2001, Mullah Omar, the supreme commander of the Taleban movement, ordered the destruction of all statues and icons in Afghanistan. The two millennium old Buddhas of Bamyan were exploded along with a vast number of the country's other historical heritages. Above the door of the Kabul Museum an unknown person posted the following maxim: "A nation is alive when its culture is alive". Afghanistan was shocking in the way the wealth of its national heritage was pillaged. Natural resources such as forests were brutally exploited (70% of the national forests were destroyed in only 20 years), ancient historical sites were excavated and plundered and, above all, culture and tradition were systematically repressed by the hundred edicts of the Taleban. Experiencing the dramatic fate of Afghanistan has exposed AIZON's founders, while working for various international agencies, to the depth and extent of damage caused to a society when culture and tradition are systematically destroyed. These events have forced us to bear witness to how cultural heritage can become the target of spectacular and dramatic destructions

Though in other places of the world, the loss of culture, tradition and natural resources may be slower, more insidious and not as spectacular, we realize that the end results are just as damaging to societies. We believe that loss of cultural and environmental heritage is a process, sometimes unconscious, driven by the dream or the rejection of certain forms of what is perceived as modernity. It is the result of a progressive loss of confidence in the existing values of a society. Forms of music and poetry are disregarded, frescoes fade, palaces collapse, architecture is forgotten, the tolerant nature of religions fades slowly into abeyance: modern times weave their web of amnesia spontaneously and without respite. The context of economic globalization and instant communication offers opportunities but also threatens the preserviation of cultural heritage as there is a marked shift towards the standardization of culture; a culture that specifically praises consumption of unnecessary and often low quality assets, which, in turn leads to rapid destruction of natural resources of the planet.

Witnessing some of the most dramatic and systematic destruction of cultural and natural resources in recent times, the founders have looked for ways to contribute to cultural and environmental preservation. The creation of AIZON is one outcome of these experiences.

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