Today I’m sharing a video made in 2011 by the Metropolitan Museum of Art about a Muslim family, the Najis, and their company of master craftsmen who came there to build a Moroccan court inside the Museum as part of the Met’s Islamic arts galleries. They were, therefore, not long ago, acknowledged, admired and welcomed to New York City by people not named Donald Trump. These artisans are the people Islamophobes despise. But what they do in this film, for those of us who have seen too much of Daesh’s horrific inhumanity and heard too much of American politicians’ vile, narcissistic and hateful demagoguery, is redeem our understanding of what humanity can be by what we can do. After experiencing the Paris attacks and hearing Islamophobic threats to “bomb the shit out of ’em… and take the oil,” witnessing these craftsmen at their loving work is the perfect antidote to the agents of hate, division and destruction on the ascent.
The work of these men is the work of civilization. That’s worth noting because what we are seeing in the world, despite the declarations of Daesh and some American politicians alike, is not a “clash of civilizations” but a clash between the civilized and the uncivilized.
Watch it, and reflect on the observation by John Ruskin that
“for the words ‘good’ and ‘wicked,’ used of men,
you may almost substitute the words ‘Makers’ and ‘Destroyers.’”
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