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Re: [BKARTS] Islamic Texts Crumble in Africa



These days I don't think that any reasonable person would condone the actions
of another Lord Elgin.
But let us recall that in this particular case no one's home is being
"invaded", no one is being "forced" to sell their books, and there is a library in
the city where the purchased, not stolen, texts are made available to the larger
community.
I must confess my prejudice; I have in my possession several objects,
including manuscript fragments, which I purchased in Timbuktu in the 70's. Does this
make me a cultural despoiler? The sellers were happy to see this dumb white
boy coming down the street.
I do not own these things. At best I am fortunate enough to have temporary
custody of them.
And surely the privilege of custody entails the obligation to do one's best
to insure their survival.
I think that Alex correctly argues that educating and enabling people to
value and preserve their part of our shared culture is the PC thing to do. And
that is precisely what is being done. Just because money is part of the process
does not invalidate the project.
Now to push the envelope: if you know that your neighbors are neglecting
their children have you not an obligation to intervene?
Best, James




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