Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Backing Words With Action

Egyptian Culture Minister Farouk Hosni now says he regrets earlier statements indicating his desire to burn any Israeli books which might be located in Egyptian libraries.
Hosni told Le Monde in remarks published on Wednesday that he regretted his comments and said they had given his opponents a chance to associate him with everything he finds deplorable - racism, nullification of others, as well as the defacement of different cultures.

"Nothing is more distant to me than racism, the negation of others or the desire to hurt Jewish culture or any other culture," he wrote.

Well, that's nice to hear. Still, I noted in my first post that Hosni has demonstrated a pattern of talking out of both sides of his mouth on this issue. How do we know this isn't just what needs to be said so that the man can get his cherished UNESCO appointment?

How about backing up words with action? Hosni said that he was implacably opposed to opening a Jewish -- not Israeli, but Jewish -- cultural museum in Egypt until the Israeli/Palestinian conflict comes to a close. Putting aside whether the presence of war and mistrust offers an argument to reduce our cultural exchanges, rather than expand them, it was particularly disheartening to see that Hosni apparently does not differentiate between Jews (including Egypt's still extant, though small, Jewish population), and Israelis. A good way for him to demonstrate that his latest act of contrition is a sincere one would be to come out forcefully for the establishment of the museum of Jewish culture in Cairo that he previously derided.

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