Oko on Saving Darma Language a Whiff of Fresh Air

RECEIVED Thu., Jan. 29, 2004

Dear Louis:
   Thank you for running Oko's article on efforts to save the Darma language of Western Nepal ["Saving Darma," News, Jan. 23]. I was surprised to see this piece among the usual rants and raves of local politics, music, food, and film that fill each issue of the Chronicle.
   This article is a bright whiff of fresh air and covers a subject of presumed interest to many of your readers. While much of the Chronicle's copy often deals with the jaw-gnashing issues surrounding the protection of Barton Springs and other natural resources of the Austin area, discussions about saving cultural heritage in the Himalayas, albeit more geographically remote, is equally compelling. Language affects thought, perception, world-view, and behavior. It is vital that the dwindling range of languages and cultures be preserved worldwide. Conservation of cultural diversity is as compelling a world priority as preserving biodiversity. Ultimately, conserving the Darma culture – and others – is as equally vital as preserving the Barton Springs salamander.
Mark Blumenthal
Founder & Executive Director
American Botanical Council
Editor, HerbalGram
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