Setting Fire to the Past


Ancient Manuscripts In Timbuktu Reduced To Ashes : The Two-Way : NPR: “‘These priceless manuscripts are my identity, they’re my history. They are documents about Islam, history, geography, botany, poetry. They are close to my heart and they belong to the whole world,’ the mayor said.”

Fundamentalists in Mali aren’t the first or the last to commit such atrocities, of course. Europeans have a long history of setting fire to their respective pasts as do Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Persians, Seleucids, Assyrians, Babylonians, and Sumerians before them.

We set fire to the past when we speak of “the Founding Fathers” or “Biblical veracity” everyday.

Still… “The past is never dead. It’s not even past,” as Faulkner reminds us.

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