25 comments on “Agreed: Dr. Jahic and Mr. Hussein should be remembered.

  1. The exact opposite to the:
    – Taliban destroying the Buddha statues
    – Mali islamists destroying tombs
    – The barbaric Saudis destroying their own religious heritage.

  2. I’m moved to tears by Jahic and Hussein’s attempts to preserve Islamic books. Trouble is that Muslims aren’t quite so keen on books that don’t fit in with their ideology. To be more exact they have a habit of killing the relevant authors.

    And then there is the fact that Spain translates more books every year than the Arab world has translated in the last thousand years.

    As for Martin Kelly’s claim that we ghastly North European whites are only a tenth as civilised as Jahic and Hussein, that’s a great piece of anti-white racism. Guardian readers will get an orgasm on reading that. But if we really are uncivilised, I just can’t fathom out why hundreds of thousands of Muslims come to Europe to get an education every year, whereas the return traffic is negligible. Clearly I’m missing something.

  3. I knew the prats would come.

    Jahic and Hussein are Muslims, and share that title with some cunts; much as Dietrich Bonhoeffer shares the title of Christian with Fred Phelps.

    They, and the strand of Islam that they represent (which is completely the opposite of the ignorant line the Saudis have been spreading over the last 65 years with our money, including to all the people who’ve blown us up at home; and is also opposed to the visceral line that the Iranians like to promote), are excellent people.

    It’s a woeful misreading to suggest that Kelly is claiming white Europeans are ignorant fuckheads. He’s claiming, correctly, that the average person of any colour or faith wouldn’t cross the road to save a historic text, never mind risk their life for several years.

    (I’m certain that, while few people have the balls of Jahic and Hussein, that both the Muslims who’re willing to leave their home for a good education and the people who teach them would be far more likely to risk their lives to save a book of any kind than the people who’d rather the former were deported and the latter abolished)

  4. I read some of Mr. Kelly’s other stuff. He seems to be extremely exercised about some beings called “neocons”, whatever these are.

  5. I knew the prats would come.

    Jahic and Hussein did not risk their lives to save any old historic text. They were saving their own cultural heritage. Likewise when our own culture and way of life was threatned in WWII millions of Brits happily put their lives at risk or lost their lives.

    So Kelly’s claim that Jahic and Hussein are ten times more civilised that the rest of us doesn’t hold water.

  6. I stand to be corrected but isn’t this the same person who thought Jean Charles de Menezes more or less had it coming to him because he was an illegal immigrant ? If it is then I’m rather disinclined to take lectures from him on civilisation.

  7. He’s claiming, correctly, that the average person of any colour or faith wouldn’t cross the road to save a historic text, never mind risk their life for several years.

    You know nothing about about conservative Judaism and its relationship to its texts, do you?

  8. If I wanted to be a contrarian and maybe a bit of a Phillistine I might ask whether any book no matter how rare and culturally important was worth risking your life for.

  9. I might ask whether any book no matter how rare and culturally important was worth risking your life for.

    And the answer will vary per book and per person. I’m not sure if I’d die to save any book (although I am expected to try to for certain ones – ‘deny to the enemy’ rather than ‘save’, perhaps) but I’d cheer on for people swarming to be massacred to save the scripts for Zzzz-factor or ‘Strictly Come Indescribably Boring”/

  10. Thornavis –

    You don’t hang out much around here, do you? If you did, you’d know that worth/value is not an absolute but is individually decided.

    The value that Mr Jahic and Mr Hussein or I or you attach to a book will differ. You may not choose to endanger your life for the sake of a book. Mr Jahic and Mr Hussein might. I might, depending on the book in question. Either way, it’s not your problem.

  11. Tim,

    Thanks for that.

    Ralph,

    The comment that you placed on my blog, almost identically worded to the first one you posted here, has made it through moderation, and I have posted a suitable response. If you are of the mind that Islam across the world is some kind of cultural monolith, I would recommend you read the English anthroplogist Andrew Beatty’s book ‘A Shadow Falls In The Heart Of Java’, a fascinating book that describes just how uncomfortable the Javans were at the intrusion of a more fundamental form of Islam into their more relaxed, more syncretic religious practices in the 1990’s. They hated seeing their daughters wearing the veil – ‘we live in the jungle, why are they dressed for the desert?’ was a common reaction, as was ‘instead of worshipping our own ancestors, we now have to worship the Arabs’ ancestors’.

    But then again you have assumed that I have wrote my essay solely in order to do down Northern European whites. That was my intention. It was written in order for me to share the story of Dr. Jahic and Mr. Hussein with anyone who can read English. You have assumed an anti-white intention that is just not there.

    Thornavis at 7.27,

    You do stand to be corrected because I have required to correct you on that matter before, specifically at 10.33 on 07/07/12, here –

    http://timworstall.com/2012/07/05/my-word-have-we/#comment-99684

  12. Two librarians did their job? OK. Good for them. We should remember them. But should we remember them as good librarians who did their job, or as everyone else around here seems to want to do, as good Muslims who enriched the world?

    Isn’t it, you know, a little Orientalist to only see these people as Muslims instead of as, perhaps, people? Or even librarians?

    As for the token Black immigrant. Come on. Martin needs to branch out into writing After School Specials. He has the talent for it.

  13. and maybe Martin will wonder why Muslims , of which there are many, let their religion be characterised by nutters?

  14. So Much For Subtlety,

    You are indeed well named. You suggest that I ‘Come on.’ Where? On to what? And how? Where’s the lift? And is there an emergency exit?

    You ask how we should remember them. I think that we should remember them as two enormously brave and civilised men who, along with their equally brave and civilised colleagues, risked their lives in order to save the books in their care because they considered those books to be worth saving. I have to confess a got a little angry when I saw you refer, in my view grossly unpleasantly, to a man whose shoelaces I am not fit to tie as a ‘token Black immigrant’. However, to respond in a manner commensurate with that reaction would give Thornavis, a slinger of mud so old you could use it to build an extension, ammunition with which he could question my own degree of civilisation. Let me therefore merely say that in my view your comment seems to place you in that group which can be best described as being less than one-tenth as civilised as Mr. Hussein.

    The extent to whch my essay seems to have been misunderstoood by some people has made me go back to what I wrote to check it. This is what I wrote –

    “…while he was organising those hellish strolls in the cause of saving his (and therefore our) culture…”

    I can’t see anything in that which is in the least Orientalist in sentiment, nor intended to suggest that Muslim culture is per se superior to other cultures. I also wrote,

    “…a Congolese immigrant who was willing to brave the sniper fire of modern Europe’s most vicious racists in order to save the culture of those who were firing at him…”

    No Orientalism or Islamic exceptionalism there. I also wrote,

    “To even know that men such as Dr. Jahic and Mr. Hussein have been so brave, have been called to be great in their own way and not been found wanting, in the cause of saving items so many other people so casually disregard as books really does make one very appreciative of the peace in which one has been able to live one’s own life”

    Again, no Orientalism or Islamic exceptionalism in there.

    What I was trying to say was that the books that Dr. Jahic and his staff saved are part of all our patrimony, a universalist, inclusive sentiment rather than a nationalist, exclusive one. Having been writing Internet commentary since September 8th 2002, one becomes accustomed to being misunderstood: Tim might agree with me on this, that unlike books, blog posts are forms of literature the merits of which are solely determined by their readers’ prejudices rather than by what they actually say. However, it is rare, and depressing, to write something which so many people, excluding, of course, the person who linked to it, seem to have so wilfully misunderstood. That Tim and John have got the point tells me that I did make the point I was trying to make – so what’s everyone else’s excuse? That its subjects were Muslims? And people wonder why some Muslims feel marginalised, when a post about two brave and civilised men who happened to be Muslims attract comments of the type that Ralph and So Much For Subtlety have made?

    Diogenes,

    You ask,

    “and maybe Martin will wonder why Muslims , of which there are many, let their religion be characterised by nutters”

    That has absolutely nothing to do with what I was writing about, so thank you very much for proving my immediately preceding point.

  15. Martin – “You ask how we should remember them. I think that we should remember them as two enormously brave and civilised men who, along with their equally brave and civilised colleagues, risked their lives in order to save the books in their care because they considered those books to be worth saving.”

    Except that is not the way you remembered them. You remembered them specifically as Muslims. Largely it seems to smear a whole bunch of Western people.

    “I have to confess a got a little angry when I saw you refer, in my view grossly unpleasantly, to a man whose shoelaces I am not fit to tie as a ‘token Black immigrant’.”

    Good for you. Except I didn’t. I referred to your cynical exploitation of him as the token Black immigrant. Let’s see how much character development you do of this man:

    He and his staff, including his incorrigibly courageous night watchman Lotumba Hussein, a Congolese immigrant who was willing to brave the sniper fire of modern Europe’s most vicious racists in order to save the culture of those who were firing at him, took the idea of civilised behaviour and elevated it to a level to which, given the circumstances under which they did so, none of us should ever aspire to reach. To even know that men such as Dr. Jahic and Mr. Hussein have been so brave, have been called to be great in their own way and not been found wanting, in the cause of saving items so many other people so casually disregard as books really does make one very appreciative of the peace in which one has been able to live one’s own life.

    That is all. No back story. No explanation of Hussein’s motives. Nothing. Just the good loyal side kick we have seen in ten thousand Hollywood films. Tonto to Jahic’s Lone Ranger. Token Black Immigrant is a perfectly reasonable description.

    “Let me therefore merely say that in my view your comment seems to place you in that group which can be best described as being less than one-tenth as civilised as Mr. Hussein.”

    Good for you.

    “I can’t see anything in that which is in the least Orientalist in sentiment”

    Good for you. It is interesting that you seem to vary whose culture this was he was saving. It was the Bosnian Muslims and then it was the Serbs and now it is all of ours. I suppose it is not an important point.

    “No Orientalism or Islamic exceptionalism there.”

    That you can see. Which is the problem innit?

    “What I was trying to say was that the books that Dr. Jahic and his staff saved are part of all our patrimony, a universalist, inclusive sentiment rather than a nationalist, exclusive one.”

    When it suits you. When it doesn’t, you take a different line:

    At the start of his country’s civil war, Dr. Mustafa Jahic, the director of the Gazi Husrav Beg Library in Sarajevo, decided to do what he could to preserve that very large part of Muslim Bosnia’s cultural patrimony which had been placed in his charge

    Not merely Bosnia’s cultural patrimony but Muslim Bosnia’s. What is more interesting you ignore Jahic’s actual words, even though you quote them:

    Dr. Jahic has said of his efforts that ‘(b)ooks are our past, our roots. Without the past, we don’t have a present or a future’, and he’s dead right, of course.

    Those books are part of the world’s cultural inheritance and it is great that he saved them. But he did not think he was saving the world’s cultural inheritance. Our past? His. Not mine. Our roots? His. Not mine. If those books were destroyed the Bosnian Muslim community might have a poorer future, but the White British community probably wouldn’t. He places those books in a specific culture and you ignore it. You ignore why he did what he did and impose your own ideas on his actions. While using him as a stick to beat British people you do not like. Well done.

    “Having been writing Internet commentary since September 8th 2002, one becomes accustomed to being misunderstood”

    One should write better then.

    And people wonder why some Muslims feel marginalised, when a post about two brave and civilised men who happened to be Muslims attract comments of the type that Ralph and So Much For Subtlety have made?

    And you see, you’re doing it again. You can’t let them be librarians. You have to make them your tools for a petty dispute over British politics. I am sorry you cannot see how utterly patronising this is, not to mention Orientalist, but that is not my fault. Can the Subaltern speak? Not on your blog.

    “That has absolutely nothing to do with what I was writing about, so thank you very much for proving my immediately preceding point.”

    Actually it was. You used their experience to try to make a point about Muslims in general and the people who do not like them. It is entirely to the point.

    By the way, I could trivially point you to some German librarians who worked hard to preserve their priceless collections from destruction during a long war too. Not 100% successfully as many of them were damaged by Bomber Command. Going to write a follow up article about them?

  16. You know nothing about about conservative Judaism and its relationship to its texts, do you?

    Incorrect. But I’m well aware that the vast majority of Jews, even Orthodox Jews, wouldn’t show Jahic and Hussein’s dedication. As wouldn’t the vast majority of Muslims.

    By the way, I could trivially point you to some German librarians who worked hard to preserve their priceless collections from destruction during a long war too

    Well why don’t you do so then, rather than going off on long bigoted rants about Islam? I’d find that an extremely interesting story to read, and I’m sure Martin and Tim would too.

    It’s only in your strange mind that such a tale would be a way to win an argument, rather than an interesting story of human endeavour that added to Martin’s original piece.

  17. john b – “But I’m well aware that the vast majority of Jews, even Orthodox Jews, wouldn’t show Jahic and Hussein’s dedication.”

    On what basis are you not merely aware but well aware? Aware of what? Your belief?

    “Well why don’t you do so then, rather than going off on long bigoted rants about Islam? I’d find that an extremely interesting story to read, and I’m sure Martin and Tim would too.”

    I can see why you need to think what I wrote was a rant, and about Muslims for that matter, but it wasn’t. The reason why I don’t is fairly obvious – I would like Martin to think about why he is willing to use every superlative in the dictionary to describe two men whose actually views he ignores, but he is not willing to grant them even the slightest moral complexity or depth. To do that he needs to think about what makes these men exceptional.

    “It’s only in your strange mind that such a tale would be a way to win an argument, rather than an interesting story of human endeavour that added to Martin’s original piece.”

    Given you have not understood, it is too early to judge.

  18. Odd that Martin Kelly is having a conversation about his blog post on Tim’s blog instead of his own. Perhaps I can conclude that it’s easier to “ma[k]e it through moderation” here than there. From that, perhaps I can conclude that when it comes to carrying the flame through the sniper fire, Tim walks the walk and Martin talks the talk.

  19. Martin>

    “Let me therefore merely say that in my view your comment seems to place you in that group which can be best described as being less than one-tenth as civilised as Mr. Hussein.”

    Bravo.

    Might I add that one should take being accused of anti-whate ricism as a compliment?

  20. Dave – “Might I add that one should take being accused of anti-whate ricism as a compliment?”

    I don’t see where anyone has accused anyone else of anti-whate[sic] ricism[sic].

    But the point is you’re doing just what Martin did. You are taking what ought to be a great story about a librarian and his “trusty dusky side kick”, and turning into a story about you. And the people you do not like.

    That is the problem.

  21. SMFS>

    “I don’t see where anyone has accused anyone else of anti-whate[sic] ricism[sic].”

    Second post on the page, last paragraph. And, by the way, ‘sic’-ing my piss-take of the anti-whate ricism crowd’s incoherence just makes you look as daft as them.

    “ou are taking what ought to be a great story about a librarian and his “trusty dusky side kick”, and turning into a story about you.”

    WTF? No, there’s no story like the one you mention here to start with, and I can’t see how complimenting Martin on his putdown turns it into a story about me. You’re not normally quite this incoherent. Clearly the mental contortions required to believe in anti-whate ricism rot the brain.

  22. PST

    I do hang around here a lot actually although it isn’t as far as I know compulsory to agree with everything that’s said. I’m also well aware that there’s no inherent value to anything and that it depends on individual judgement. My point in asking whether any book was worth risking one’s life for was an attempt to look beyond the purely subjective and ask whether there are other factors, such as the effect on others, of dying to save a book, that’s why I said “if I wanted to be a bit contrarian”, I don’t know the answer myself and as you obviously aren’t interested in that yourself I shall just content myself with telling you to fuck off and patronise someone else.

  23. PJF,

    The reason Ralph’s comment made it through moderation last night was that it was the only one that had been posted. At that point there had been ten times as many reactions on Tim’s blog as on mine. I haven’t even checked my own blog this evening, before coming here. I don’t spend all day online waiting to moderate comments that aren’t going to come, the digital equivalent of a nude crank waiting for the end of the world on top of a Somerset tor. Gimme a break, for goodness’ sake. Am I supposed to switch off comment moderation, and be deluged – again – with adverts for sex shops – and what’s worse, ones I can’t get to – which is what happened the last time it went off?

    So Much For Subtlety,

    I seem to have got up your nose. I don’t know why. If I am lodged there I suggest you blow harder, although that might take some doing. You seem to be reading a completely different article to the one I wrote.

    It baffles me that you took the time to write,

    “Except that is not the way you remembered them. You remembered them specifically as Muslims. Largely it seems to smear a whole bunch of Western people.”

    What? Who got smeared? Smear? What smear? Who have I smeared? Ah, it’s Wednesday, wee Kelly from Glasgow must be smearing Western people today!

    “I have to confess a got a little angry when I saw you refer, in my view grossly unpleasantly, to a man whose shoelaces I am not fit to tie as a ‘token Black immigrant’.”

    Good for you. Except I didn’t.’

    I didn’t expect you to. You wrote it.

    ‘I referred to your cynical exploitation of him as the token Black immigrant. Let’s see how much character development you do of this man:

    (Quotes me at length)

    That is all. No back story. ‘

    What? Back story? Back story? Are you being serious? I’m writing about two men who risked their lives to save books and you want it to follow the conventions of Hollywoord scriptwriting?

    ‘No explanation of Hussein’s motives. Nothing. ‘

    OK – ‘It would have been better to die together with the books than to live without them…What would be the purpose of my life if I lost what I loved’ – Lotumba Hussein, lifted word for word from the webpage you land on if you click on the link over his name in my post.

    ‘Just the good loyal side kick we have seen in ten thousand Hollywood films. Tonto to Jahic’s Lone Ranger. Token Black Immigrant is a perfectly reasonable description.’

    That is a disgusting description of an extremely brave and civilised man, and good for me for saying it.

    “It is interesting that you seem to vary whose culture this was he was saving. It was the Bosnian Muslims and then it was the Serbs and now it is all of ours. I suppose it is not an important point.”

    No not really, now you mention it.

    “Those books are part of the world’s cultural inheritance and it is great that he saved them. But he did not think he was saving the world’s cultural inheritance. Our past? His. Not mine. Our roots? His. Not mine. If those books were destroyed the Bosnian Muslim community might have a poorer future, but the White British community probably wouldn’t. He places those books in a specific culture and you ignore it. You ignore why he did what he did and impose your own ideas on his actions. While using him as a stick to beat British people you do not like. Well done.”

    Again, I can only merely point out that the words ‘white’, ‘Britain’ and ‘British’ don’t appear in the piece at all. You are drawing conclusions which have no basis in fact, and seeing things that are not there.

    “To do that he needs to think about what makes these men exceptional.” –

    They and their colleagues carried a library’s worth of books around a war zone for years. Deep and complex enough for you?

  24. Martin, be that technobloggobabble as it may, it still remains odd that you engage in conversation here the same person you dismiss on your own site with the equivalent of a teenage girl flouncing, “whatevah” (Zzzzzzzzzzzzz……..).

    Now here’s a question for you. Inspired as you are by the heroic exploits of these good librarians to save teh boooks for all of us, how much effort would you put into preserving the works of Eduard Limonov?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tH_v6aL1D84

    It’s easy for me, by the way, for I’m still not convinced that the whole lot of them, nor their books, are worth the bones of a single grenadier from anywhere near here.

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