Thomas Aquinas (Italian philosopher)
Distinctions drawn by the mind are not necessarily equivalent to distinctions in reality.
Iran attending World Travel Market Exhibition
The World Travel Market Exhibition, which is celebrating its 40th year, opened its doors in London with the presence of Iranian tour operators, leaders and officials.
The world’s largest travel trade show, which is part of the newly-inaugurated London Travel Week, is expected to see its 51,000 visitors and 5,000 exhibitors from more than 180 countries pack into ExCeL London to conduct some £3.5 billion worth of deals.
Arg-e Jadid, Gardesh, Iran-e Doostan, Marcopaulo, Dorna Gasht and Pasargadae are the Iranian travel agencies which introduce Iran’s tourist attractions to the world.
The exhibition will run until November 7.
It’s a far cry from when the show was first opened by the Duke of Kent at Kensington Olympia in December 1980 when just 40 countries were on show and 7,700 visitors crossed the threshold of the inaugural exhibition.
Today, the show operates in a world where tourism is the UK’s fastest growing sector accounting for almost 12 percent of all jobs, generating £232 billion annually for the economy, and host city London is the third most-visited city in the world with more than 19 million visitors a year.
World Travel Market alone is thought to add £160 million to London’s economy, taking into account how much show visitors spend on hotels, restaurants and entertainment.
World Travel Market – London is the leading global event for the travel industry, a must-attend three-day exhibition for the worldwide tourism industry.
Author Jean-Paul Dubois takes France’s highest literary honor, Goncourt Prize
Author Jean-Paul Dubois, 69, won France’s highest literary honor, the Prix Goncourt, for his book, ‘Tous les hommes n’habitent pas le monde de la même façon’ (roughly translated as ‘All Men Do Not Inhabit This World in the Same Way’).
Marcel Proust, Marguerite Duras and Simone de Beauvoir have all won the Goncourt Prize in the past, AFP wrote.
“If Jean-Paul Dubois’s novels were translated from English, he would have the same status as John Irving or William Boyd in France,” Bernard Pivot, President of the Goncourt Academy, said.
The author’s 22nd book tells the story of Paul Hansen, who has spent two years in a Bordeaux prison.
The story is narrated through Hansen, about how he came to share his cell with a Hells Angels member who is both scary and touching and who, while dreaming about killing people, is terrified of mice and hair-dressing scissors.
“I will be the same tomorrow as I was this morning,” insisted the writer, who still lives in the beautiful house in Toulouse where he was born.
The sad, nostalgic hero of his new book also has roots in the southwestern French city.
But his life is destroyed by a moment of madness and he finds himself sharing a tiny cell in a Canadian jail with a Hells Angel who has threatened to “cut him in two” if he gets on the wrong side of him.
Yet the hulking thug is reduced to jelly by the sight of mice and a barber’s scissors.
The chairman of the Goncourt jury Bernard Pivot described Dubois as a French “John Irving or William Boyd,” writing highly entertaining books that are both popular and critical successes.
Several French critics had hailed the novel as Dubois’ best.
To keep himself sane, the narrator, Paul Hansen, talks to the dead in his head.
They include his late partner Winona, a half-Irish, half-Native American hydroplane pilot; his dog Nouk; his father, a Danish pastor, and his French mother.
While Dubois gets only 10 euros ($11) for winning the Goncourt, the prize almost guarantees a boost in sales of 450,000 copies or more, placing it instantly among the year’s top bestsellers.
Minutes later the Renaudot, often seen as the consolation prize, was handed to Sylvain Tesson for ‘The Snow Leopard,’ an account of his search in Tibet for one of the most endangered animals on the planet.
“I hope it will help us save and better understand these animals which have so much need of our help now,” Tesson said.
“I feel like the rabbit who has been pulled out of a hat,” he joked, or “a leopard in a world where order has been restored.”
Iran, Russia to get closer through holding cultural programs
Iran and Russia will hold some cultural events in both countries’ capitals and will get closer through art.
Iranian Calligraphy Week is to be held in the capital city of Moscow helping Russian citizens to get familiar with Iranian art.
The week is set to take place at scientific and cultural centers of Moscow from November 11 to 14.
Nastaliq, cursive nastaliq, naskh and thuluth will be displayed as the main styles of Iranian calligraphy, IRNA wrote.
On the other side, Islamic Culture and Relations Organization (ICRO) will hold Russia’s Cultural Days in Iran on November 9 in cooperation with the Culture Ministry of the Russian Federation.
According to ICRO, the two cities of Tehran and Qazvin will host cultural officials of the two countries, ambassadors and foreign diplomats residing in Iran until November 14.
The Roudaki Foundation, the Niavaran Cultural-Historical Complex, Qazvin Cultural Institutions and ROSCONCERT of Russia will cooperate with ICRO for organizing Russia’s Cultural Days in Iran.
The inaugural ceremony of this program will be held at Vahdat Hall in the presence of the head of ICRO Abouzar Ebrahimi-Torkaman and Russian Deputy Minister of Culture Pavel Stepanov.
Also, Russia’s Traditional Arts Exhibition will be held at the Niavaran Cultural-Historical Complex on November 10 and is to last four days.
Stepanov will be accompanied by a delegation comprising of 50 distinguished and prominent Russian artists.
In addition to meeting with Iranian cultural officials, the Russian delegation will also visit the Niavaran Cultural-Historical Complex and the National Museum of Iran.
British Museum ‘largest receiver of stolen goods’: Rights lawyer
The British Museum was accused of exhibiting “pilfered cultural property” by a leading human rights lawyer who is calling for European and American institutions to return treasures taken from “subjugated peoples” by “conquerors or colonial masters”.
Geoffrey Robertson told the Guardian, “The trustees of the British Museum have become the world’s largest receivers of stolen property – and the great majority of their loot is not even on public display.”
He criticized the museum for allowing an unofficial “stolen goods tour”, “which stops at the Elgin marbles, Hoa Hakananai’a, the Benin bronzes [wanted by Greece, Easter Island and Nigeria] and other pilfered cultural property”, according to theguardian.com.
He said, “That these rebel itineraries are allowed is a tribute to the tolerance of this great institution, which would be even greater if it washed its hands of the blood and returned Elgin’s loot.”
He accused the museum of telling “a string of carefully-constructed lies and half- truths, about how [the marbles] were ‘saved’ or ‘salvaged’ or ‘rescued’ by Lord Elgin, who came into possession of them lawfully.”
The rights lawyer also criticized “encyclopedic museums” – such as the British Museum, the Louvre in Paris and the Metropolitan in New York – that “lock up the precious legacy of other lands, stolen from their people by wars of aggression, theft and duplicity”.
Robertson’s views appear in his book, ‘Who Owns History? Elgin’s Loot and the Case for Returning Plundered Treasure’.
He wrote, “This is a time for humility – something the British, still yearning for the era when they ruled the world, i.e. for Brexit, do not do very well. Before it releases any of its share of other people’s cultural heritage, the British Museum could mount an exhibition – ‘The Spoils of Empire’.” Others argue that the Empire also brought benefits, including education and legislation.
Advocating the return of cultural property based on human rights law principles, Robertson observes that President Macron of France has “galvanized the debate” by declaring that “African cultural heritage can no longer remain a prisoner of European museums”.
He noted, “Politicians may make more or less sincere apologies for the crimes of their former empires, but the only way now available to redress them is to return the spoils of the rape of Egypt and China and the destruction of African and Asian and South American societies. We cannot right historical wrongs – but we can no longer, without shame, profit from them.”
Robertson, together with Amal Clooney and the late Professor Norman Palmer, prepared a report on reunification of the Elgin marbles for the Greek government. In his new book, he acknowledges that restitution might well encourage further claims, “although – because the Marbles are unique – not necessarily successful ones”.
He added, “The Benin bronzes, for example, are art which is important to Africa, but not to the world in the way that the marbles have international resonance. On the other hand, the barbaric manner of the taking of the bronzes amounted to a war crime, which is morally more despicable than Elgin’s theft and duplicity.”
He accused museum trustees and the government of passing the buck when it comes to answering requests for the return of cultural property. He also criticizes the lack of diversity among trustees.
Julian Spalding, the former head of Glasgow, Sheffield and Manchester museums, agreed that the British Museum “needs to give [the Elgin] sculptures back because they’re an intrinsic part of one the world’s greatest works of art”.
A British Museum spokeswoman confirmed that it allows a “stolen goods tour”, run by an external guide. She said that the Elgin marbles were acquired legally, with the approval of the Ottoman authorities of the day “They were not acquired as a result of conflict or violence. Lord Elgin’s activities were thoroughly investigated by a parliamentary select committee in 1816 and found to be entirely legal.”
She added “The British Museum acknowledges the difficult histories of some of its collections, including the contested means by which some collections have been acquired such as through military action and subsequent looting … In the case of the Benin bronzes, the museum visited Benin City in 2018 to talk about plans for a new Royal Museum in Benin City and how the museum could help.”