Fitzgerald: Who will save the monuments?
Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald discusses the threat to Western art posed by the Islamization of Europe:
Already statues have been vandalized by Muslims in public places, and in churches, in both
Is anyone at all thinking about this, and contacting others? What about Philippe de Montebello or J. Carter Brown or Anne d'Harnoncourt or any other museum directors or retired directors, or any celebrated collectors, or those who already belong to such groups as Save Venice or Save Florence or FAI or Save Art here and there and everywhere? What about those who fund foundations that will pay to rescue Roman mosaics from the rising man-made floods that covered Zeugma, or the Temples near Aswan, but have a new kind of inundation to deal with, the flood-tide of Islam's adherents, who to the extent that they take their Islam seriously, can only threaten Western art, as they once not only threatened, but managed to destroy, so much of Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Greco-Bactrian monuments, stupas, manuscripts, temples, artifacts, to erase, or to appropriate as their own, the signs and symbols of anything pre-Islamic or non-Islamic?
This matter cannot wait. Raising the matter publicly, noisily, so that everyone is made aware of the problem, so that Muslims themselves (the same ones who pretended to be outraged by the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas but in truth helped the Taliban, as those Pakistani and Saudi engineers did, and were secretly pleased at the result) are put on the defensive, and forced either to admit to or to change their ways.
Raising the issue will offend Muslims -- or at least, many will feign indignation. But why? The issue is real. The prohibition is real. Any Muslim can find it in Qaradawi's handy guide to what is halal and what haram. Any Muslim can read what the Egyptian Grand Muft said recently about this. Muslims have been acting on those prohibitions for 1350 years. Now they exist, in large numbers, within the Lands of the Infidels, the Bilad al-kufr. This poses many problems for Infidels, their laws, customs, understandings, political and social institutions, physical security -- and for their artistic heritage, the heritage that, supposedly, belongs to everyone.
Time to bring it all out into the open. Who will be brave enough to discuss it? If not the heads of American or European museums (who, for all I know, are eager to obtain Arab money for some pathetic "Islamic art" wing and as craven in their pursuit of such money, and hence in their willingness to remain silent on all sorts of questions, as college and university presidents whose every statement is cleared with the Development Office, that beating heart of the modern university) then who?
It could be one of those scholars grateful for the training he received, perhaps at the Warburg or at the Courtauld, in the days when that instruction would have been given by some unforgettable, irreplaceable Jewish refugee from another totalitarian belief-system, that which ruled
There is one celebrated art historian whose clashes with the Belle Arti in Italy have been based not on any deliberate damage inflicted, but rather on the unintentional damage that may have been caused by well-intentioned cleaning that may have removed what the artists in question (Michelangelo, Jacopo della Quercia) foresaw, and intended to be, the pleasing effects created by the patina of time on the Sistine Chapel, on the giant statue of Ilaria del Carretto in Lucca.
So perhaps someone will kindly pass on this suggestion to Professor James Beck of
And as the boys from the Belle Arti, and some Japanese businessmen who were awarded proprietary rights in the Cappella Sistina reproductions have discovered to their own great dismay, nothing and nobody intimidates James Beck.
Posted at June 14, 2006 09:17 AM