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Farenheit 451

The roles of an architectural historian may be many and diverse, but they rarely include giving evidence at a UN war crimes tribunal. This, however, is what Dr Andras Riedlmayer, director of Islamic architecture at Harvard's Fine Arts Library has been doing, at the tribunal that found Bosnian Serb leader Momcilo Krajisnik guilty of crimes against humanity based partly on Riedlmayer’s evidence. As Riedlmayer told Australian local radio, his evidence dealt largely with the deliberate bombing of the Bosnian National Library in Sarajevo. ‘In an increasingly secular age, the burning of books may be the last act that evokes in people the same reaction as an act of desecration does,’ Riedlmayer explained.

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