I was chatting with an academic colleague of mine about the recent attack in Pakistan on a large, carved Buddha, and actually impressed myself with my own serenity and acceptance. Quite the different response from my reaction to the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas (outrage, anger, despair).
But as I told him, it is only rock, and only appears indestructable to use because we move at different time than rock. To focus so much on the image is in fact to do exactly what the Islamic militants fear – idolize the image, instead of revere the message.
Ultimately, what I feel is more sorrow and sadness, not for the destruction of the carved art and stone, but for the people who are so ruled by fear, who are so threatened by something as simple as carved rock. How sad and small their lives must be, and what beauty and wonder in the world they are missing.