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Re: [BKARTS] Britain to return plundered Ethiopian book


I think the keyword here is "precedence".

If one manuscript is returned to one country you will never be able to
refuse returning any other manuscript to any other country. And then you
will neither be able to refuse to return any artifact in any museum to
any country. Where do you draw the line?

These war campaigns and colonial projects may surely have been nasty
businesses, but - despite how we feel about it - history turned out the
way it did and I am not sure it would do any good to begin returning
books, manuscripts, and artifacts from libraries and museums.

Best regards,
Mats Broberg

Stockholm - Sweden

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Book_Arts-L [mailto:BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On
> Behalf Of Miranda Deborah A
> Sent: den 2 oktober 2003 19:01
> To: BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: Re: Britain to return plundered Ethiopian book
> Just have to comment that, if the winning country is, indeed,
> 'civili= zed,' there seems to be an imperative there to
> RETURN the manuscripts to th= e losers once the situation has
> stabilized.  Agreed, it's nice that the manuscripts were
> saved from the fire -- and I can't imagine the monks chose to
> burn them without a great deal of soul-searching, conflict, =
> and perhaps even without their consent -- but a truly
> CIVILIZED country w= ould understand that the paternalism
> that evolves out of 'taking care of' beautiful materials for
> another country also leads to the destruction=  of the
> 'losing' culture.  As someone wise has said, genocide has
> many fa= ces. One of them is withholding a culture's own
> heritage and artistic accomplishments once danger has passed.
> Deborah
> On Thu, 2 Oct 2003, James Pepper wrote:
> > It should be noted that manuscript illumination was something that =
> the
> > Ethipians were known for up to the then end of the 19th century whe=
> n religious
> > practices other than christianity came into play and the art of eth=
> iopian
> > manuscript illumination (christian) became an exile or greatly surp=
> ressed and an
> > underground movement.  So one wonders how many manuscripts were des=
> troyed during
> > those periods of times and just how likely it was for these manuscr=
> ipts to have
> > survived, if they were not "taken" by the British.
> > One of the great arguments is over the return of the Codex Siniatic=
> us to a
> > monastery in the Sinai desert.  The German who found it in the firs=
> t place came
> > upon the monks who were using it and other manuscripts as kindling =
> for the
> > fire.  And much of that manuscript was lost to heat that monastery.=
>  Instead
> > large parts of it found their way to the British Library where you =
> can go inside
> > any day it is open, go up one level turn left and into a room full =
> of
> > manuscripts and look at it yourself.  And it will be preserved for =
> another 1700 years
> > or as long as the UK stays civilized which ever comes first! Many
> > people seem to forget that if you are in a war and you loose, =
> you loose.
> > Lawsuits doesn't change that.  Its like a fight in the school yard,=
>  if the
> > looser goes running to the Principal did he win the fight? Doesn't =
> matter how
> > unfair the sides were in abilites, that is the whole point, someone=
>  has to
> > loose.  So we go on from there.  Just thank God that the manuscript=
>  still exists!
> >
> > Meanwhile the world has been able to see these manuscripts and they=
>  have been
> > preserved for all to see.
> >
> > JP
> >
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> <<<<<=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D>>>>>=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=
> =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D<<<<<=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=
> =3D=3D>>>>>=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D<<<<<
> Deborah A. Miranda
> Pacific Lutheran University
> Dept. of English
> Tacoma WA 98447
> <mirandda@xxxxxxx>
> 253-535-7238

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