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I was surprised to receive this message from Bill Ratliff, Hoover's Latin American expert, a conservative and therefore presumably a defender of the Western tradition. He was originally a China specialist and he still keeps up his interest in that area- This may explain the anti`Western slant of his message, I wonder what he thinks of the Boxer Rebellion? He writes:
"I am no expert on Muslim culture and unable to say if the things I like in it were derived from "superior cultures." I have been to the Alhambra and Taj, however, and judge them not bad. And I am quite taken by the architecture of many mosques, some exquisite foods and much music from the region, though not from Taliban-type areas. But my strongest recent impression was on a visit a couple of months ago to the Louvre. After passing through innumerable rooms of European Christian and big-shot paintings, yawning most of the way and wondering why most of them should be taking up so much space in downtown Paris, I decided to close the day with a visit to the Flemish collection. Well, it was closed, and after I stopped cursing, since I knew I won't be back for some time, I went to the next closest rooms, the Muslim collection. It was absolutely fabulous. Whereas you couln't have paid me to carry most of the European paintings to the trash can, I would gladly have smuggled 95% of the works in the Muslim collection out and placed them in my home alongside the best of the Chinese works I have collected for decades".
My advice to Bill: Don't throw Western art into the garbage can of history (it is against the garbage regulations) and, don't smuggle; it is unWAIS, unwise and illegal. Don't curse Christian art. It might bless you. "Bless them that curse you". Well, would that do you any harm?
Ronald Hilton - 10/13/01