Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"Khaled Fahmy and Arabic books in the West"

From the Angry Arab:
"Regarding this interesting note on Arabic books at Western libraries by Khaled Fahmy in Jadaliyya. Yes, he has a point regarding lamentations and sorrow when you see the Arabic collections (especially when it is rarely used or opened as in the Widener Library at Harvard University). But Fahmy forgot the other side of the story: how Western universities through their orientalists looted many of the local libraries of the Middle East. Philip Hitti, for example, used to travel in Syria and Lebanon and offer very little money for valuable manuscripts: the value of which he knew but did not inform its owners about. Many universities have dispatched librarians who purchased family collections and again would underpay for them."

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