Media Missed Controversy

Discussion in 'The Media' started by Shale, Feb 18, 2009.

  1. Shale

    Shale ~

    I didn't know whether to post this in "History" or "Activim" but since it is a criticism of a newspaper I put it in "Media. It is a letter I sent to the Editor and complaint man at The Miami Herald today. Following it are the world news accounts of the non-story that the Miami Herald blew away.

    Edward Schumacher-Matos, Ombudsman
    Anders Gyllenhaal, Executive Editor

    February 18, 2009

    Today I got around to reading the article in Sunday's Miami Herald, Tropical Life section titled "Gandhi's rare items to go on block." It was written rather dispassionately by AP writer Ula Ilnytzky as if a collection of Titanic artifacts were on the block. Nowhere in the story was there any mention that anyone would be upset at this auction.

    But, my immediate reaction was to get upset. I clipped the article and wrote in the margins, "How can this be? Is everything for sale? These items should be in India - forever available to everyone in the world."

    I went online to see if there were any others who felt this way. I discovered that the AP writer may have been breaking the story since it was published on Feb 12th. The controversy started shortly thereafter in the world press with most headlines from England, India and Australia being "Gandhi auction draws outrage in India."

    Personally, the breaking story should have anticipated this outrage, as it hit me immediately. The author only focused on the sale and the Herald published this without anyone seeing the bigger picture here. No one thought that selling off Indian national treasures (actually, international treasures) would garner outrage?

    This is why I fault the Miami Herald in its "news" reporting. When Fidel sneezes it makes the front page of the English version of El Herald, yet no one can see that selling Gandhi-ji's few worldly possessions would garner world outrage.

    Shale Stone (of course I used my real name)
    Miami Beach
    ------------------------------------
    Telegraph UK
    Gandhi heirs condemn auction of his belongings
    The family of Mahatma Gandhi has denounced a planned auction of his belongings as immoral and called for them to be returned to India as national treasures.

    By Barney Henderson and Dean Nelson in New Delhi
    Last Updated: 12:38AM GMT 16 Feb 2009

    Tushar Gandhi said he has already had offers from people around the world to raise money for the cause.

    Gandhi's sandals, pocket watch and spectacles, which the father of the Indian independence movement said gave him "the vision to free India," will be sold to the highest bidder at a New York auction house next month, but last night his great-grandson joined Indian MPs in demanding their return.

    Tushar Gandhi, Gandhi's 49-year-old great grandson who runs the Mahatma Gandhi Foundation in Mumbai, said he has already had offers from people around the world to donate one month's salary – including one from a poor rickshaw driver in Mumbai who had offered to sell his vehicle to raise money for the cause.

    He has questioned the manner in which Peter Ruhe, a German memorabilia collector and chairman of the GandhiServe Foundation in Berlin, had obtained the items.

    The watch, he claimed, was a gift from Gandhi to his grand niece-in-law who served as his personal assistant and in whose arms he died after being shot in 1948. He said that Mr Ruhe persuaded her to sign an agreement with him and now that she has died he is selling them off. He has gone around the world collecting up Gandhi's personal possessions and running it like a business.

    "It is all very sad," he said.

    "It is immoral and must be stopped," said Mr Gandhi. "It would be a grave insult to the nation if these items were just sold off. While my great-grandfather attached little importance to his possessions and lived a simple life, they are hugely sentimental items for the people.

    "They are priceless to India. the father of the Indian independence movement. I would absolutely hate it if they ended up enriching the life of some wealthy businessman in America or Britain.

    "They belong here."

    The reserve price for the lot is £30,000, but experts expect bids of several times that amount.

    The brochure for the New York auction house Antiquorum states that Gandhi gave the pocket watch to his grandniece Abha Gandhi. She later left it her own will to her daughter Ghita Mehta who has provided a letter of authenticity for the sale.

    Nilay Band, an associate of Peter Ruhe and a member of his research organisation GandhiServe which promotes Gandhian philosophy, denied that Mr Ruhe had behaved in an underhand manner.

    "I have no doubt that Mr Ruhe is genuine and has acquired his large collection on Gandhi memorabilia legitimately. He's a good man and very genuine," he said.

    According to Tushar Gandhi, Mr Ruhe had travelled through Gujarat in the 1990s gathering Gandhi memorabilia and had met Gandhi's grandniece and acquired the rights to Gandhi's pocket watch from her. "Collecting up these items has been a systematic lucrative operation going on from Germany," he said.
    ------------------------------------
    The West Australian
    Gandhi auction draws outrage in India
    17th February 2009, 16:00 WST
    An auction of several of Mahatma Gandhi’s personal possessions, including his trademark round glasses, has triggered a campaign for the items to be returned to India.
    -------------------------------------
    Hindustan times
    Gandhi auction draws outrage in India
    Agence France-Presse
    New Delhi, February 18, 2009

    An auction of several of Mahatma Gandhi's personal possessions, including his trademark round glasses, has triggered a campaign for the items to be returned to India.

    Gandhi's great-grandson Tushar Gandhi, describing it as a "grave insult" for the independence leader's belongings to be sold off next month in New York, said he was trying to raise money to bring them home.
    ---------------------------------------
    Sydney Morning Herald
    Protest over auction of Gandhi items
    February 17, 2009

    DELHI: The family of Mahatma Gandhi has denounced a planned auction of his belongings as immoral, and called for them to be returned to India as national treasures.
     
  2. blackcat666

    blackcat666 Senior Member

    well, the daily newspaper here in san antonio did not cover it either.
    i learned about it at alter net.
    still, selling gandhi's stuff is not cool at all!
     

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