Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Whatever Happend to the Person?

Gerard Russell, of the Carr centre for human rights policy at the Harvard Kennedy school, hopes the Nobel Prize for Literature will go to a Syrian poet known as Adonis. Why? Not because his poetry is better than that of the other candidates but because:
The significance of honouring Arab poetry is obvious. It is the most eloquent and intellectually cogent response to those who belittle and malign Islamic culture; it shows that the Nobel prize committee is capable instead of seeing its depth and richness. What is reductively called "Muslim outreach" has become a dialogue only with clergy and politicians. A people can also be represented by their poets and their playwrights.
Adonis may happen to be an Arab but that doesn't make him a representative of all Arabs. Inability to treat people as individuals rather than a representative of some fictitiously homogeneous group or community is the same kind of thing that leads to racism.

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