Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Dusty old papers in the wrong garage

Here's a story from the Boston Globe about a collection of papers which are in the wrong garage: dozens of boxes of files left behind by Robert F Kennedy.

Some of it's legalese, and some of it's technical. But the crux of the matter is simple. Had RFK lived a normal life span, upon leaving whatever final official office he might have held the papers in his office would have been sent to the archives; over time they would have been catalogued, de-classified and opened to the public. Tragically, that's not the way it happened, and after his assassination the archivists and the family reached an agreement which must have reflected the emotional sensitivity of the matter, but didn't serve the public interest; almost 50 years later some extremely important (and most likely fascinating) documents are hidden away in a private Kennedy installation and no-one has access to them.

It would be nice to say that such things never happen in Israel, and departing politicians never take official documents with them, nor do their survivors hold onto the files because they don't have them in the first place. It would be nice, but alas, it wouldn't be true.

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