Our translation of the Arabic texts above does not substantiate the claim made in the subtext on this page. The words on the atlas are the names of countries and oceans. The text above the map on the left wall reads: “What do my enemies do to me, I, [with] my paradise and my orchard…” And above the map on the left the text appears to read: “The Crusaders’ occupation [and the] Muslim’s initiatives”
The former quote would seem to be a version of a text attributed to Ibn Taymiyyah: “What can my enemies do to me? My paradise and garden are in my chest, and do not leave me. My imprisonment is seclusion with Allah, and my death is martyrdom, and my expulsion is tourism.” While it is said that the thoughts of Ibn Taymiyyah have been influential on contemporary fundamentalist thought in Islam, such as Wahhabism and Salafism, the murals above could hardly be seen as targeting instructions…
And Boetti? Clearly, this Mappa has nothing to do with Alighiero Boetti, but it’s a provocative thought, given the claims of contemporary writers to his influence on other aspects of Afghan culture. Relax, we won’t be claiming a connection to al-Qaeda. On the other hand, it is of interest to see how atlas images circulate within Afghanistan.
(This page is from John F. Burns and Ian Fisher (Photographs by Tyler Hicks) Histories are Mirrors: The Path of Conflict through Afghanistan and Iraq. Umbrage Editions, New York.)