notes about Herodotus

.. check out some readings from the just recently passed away author and journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski, like for example his text titled HERODOTUS AND THE ART OF NOTICING which has been published in lettre international in 2003.

… In this multicultural world, people from those other cultures demand that they be treated as equal, command the same respect and be in our good graces. It is a well-established given that there are no higher or lower cultures and what makes a difference is just the result of their specific geographical and historical conditions.

The problem is that we know little about other cultures, and rather than decent knowledge we are likely to make do with easy and false stereotypes. This is what Herodotus understood all too well. Better still, he knew that only mutual knowledge of each other makes understanding and connecting possible, as the only way to peace and harmony, cooperation and exchange. With this assumption in mind, a reporter takes a plunge into the hive of activity: travels, investigates, takes notes, explains why others behave differently from us and shows that those other ways of existence and understanding of the world have a logic of their own, are sensible and should be accepted rather than generate aggression and war. …

.. many others may be found – a site which collects reviews on him can be looked up here.
And finally two further quotes I thought worth posting, but sorrily only could find in german:

Die Landschaften Europas sind gekennzeichnet von Befestigungsmauern, Burgen, Festungen, Wachtürmen, Bunkern, Militärstraßen, Grenzbalken, Grenzen. Überall ein Limes, befestigt, bewacht, der den Kontinent seit jeher durchschneidet. In der Geschichte Afrikas, in seinen Landschaften finden wir nichts dergleichen. Ein offener Raum, frei, unbefestigt, durch nichts begrenzt, ungehindert.

The landscapes of Europe are marked by fortification walls, castles, fortresses, watch towers, bunkers, military routes, frontier bars, borders. Everywhere a limes, bastioned, guarded, which cuts through the continent since ever. In the history of Africa, in its landscapes we do not find anything similar. An open area, freely, unfortified, not limited by anything, untrammeled.

Im europäischen Denken, in den Themen, die dieses bewegen, gibt es keinen Platz für außereuropäische Wirklichkeiten. Es beschränkt sich auf die eigenen inneren Probleme und versteht unter Universalismus nur, das europäische Thema auf die ganze Welt auszuweiten.

In European thinking, in the topics moving it, there is no space for non-European realilties. It is limited to its own internal problems and understands universalism only the way to extend the European topic onto the whole world.

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