Sad news from Alexandria, another victim of the tsunami of medieval cultural and political hegemony that is sweeping across the Arab world, an oppressive back-wash from the “spring”


For the second time in the same week, I am addressing the subject of Nabi Daniel Street in Alexandria, first discussed its famous synagogue, and now I wish to write about its book market. As part of the cultural heritage of Egypt’s second largest city, this street was the subject of a vicious—and frankly barbaric—assault from the new Islamist governor. The Alexandria security service chose the early hours of Friday morning to carry out its assault on the old book market. The attackers did it in style, too; they destroyed the kiosks and threw the books savagely into piles of rubble in the street and then left without even providing an explanation to the distraught owners who depend solely on these kiosks to earn a living.

Incidents such as this remind me of several encounters during my childhood, one with the bearded man who advised my mother not to…

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