Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Traditional medicine manuscript dealing with treatment for certain eye diseases (Djenne Manuscript Library)

"Where do people get their information from?"

I asked in disbelief in the last entry. Well, I have investigated a little, and I do know where this particular information came from. It must be a misunderstanding of the New York Times article by the art critic Holland Cotter which came out on the 18th of April: A Tribute to Islam, Earthen but Transcendent

This is an interesting article which deals only partly with the manuscripts. This part is mostly correct because I sent the information concerning the library to the journalist myself. However, he says that there are already 40 000 images online. That is not true. There are not yet any images available online. We are not ready for this and still in the middle of the project.

The journalist Holland Cotter had spent a few days in Djenne, staying at hotel Djenne Djenno, where I obviously greeted him, and spoke at least a few words with him as I always do. Unbeknown to me, he had then been shown around the town and taken to the Imam's library only. His guide had not even spoken about the Djenne Manuscript Library, and this is by far the most important library in Djenne! It was only when he was doing further research before writing his article that he came across information about the British Library Project in Djenne, so he contacted me. I could have spoken to him directly at the hotel, taken him to visit the Djenne Manuscript Library and given him an understanding of our work. Instead this had to be done online!
And this information gets misinterpreted by a Swedish broadsheet, who claims that the Mosque Project has been closed down by the 'religious authorities'! This 'religious authority' whose name I will not spell out, but whose identity must be clear by now, has been trying unsuccessfully to close down the project since the very beginning.

Oh, well, at least the project is in good health: it is about the only thing happening in Djenne at the moment. I am much looking forward to seeing the team at the end of June!


Blogger mary said...

Enjoying your updates although news is increasingly sad.
Mamadou would like a laptop. Says an old one would be fine. I don't have one but even if I did how would I get it to him? He thinks that you are the person to take it back to Mali but of course he probably has no idea of the geography involved. Any bright ideas or just I ditch the request?
Also we have some photos for the kind headmaster with whom we had a homestay in Segou. I doubt if they would arive if I posted the although he was confident that they would. Again any ideas? You could email me on if you would rather not have these messages on your blog. many thanks.

8:55 PM  
Blogger Susan Scheid said...

I am glad you've written here of the story behind the story. I read the Holland Cotter article (perhaps I mentioned this along the way), and I do like his perspective generally, so it is particularly important, for me, at least, that you offer this corrective.

12:20 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home