TODAY IN LITERATURE – New Alexandria Library saved by young Egyptians

In recent days, the world hs been glued to the unfolding situation in Egypt.  The news has been confusing.Perhaps because I was in Egypt in October as part of Classical Pursuits’ trip to Egypt, Rocking the Cradle of Civilization: Egypt Then and Now I feel strongly connected with what’s going on – and hope that all Egyptians, especially those we came to know and care about, are safe and have a sound future.

One of the last places we visited was the new Bibliotheca Alexandrina, an inspired and inspiring institution, built on the site of the the Great Library of Alexandria which dominated the ancient world of learning and functioned as a major centre of scholarship  from approximately the third century B.C. to the fourth century A.D. The building was thought by the ancients to have been of surpassing splendour, but not a trace survives. To this day, the details of the destruction remains a lively source of controversy.

The loss of the ancient world’s single greatest archive of knowledge, the Library of Alexandria, has been lamented for ages. But in 2003, near the site of the old library, a new Bibliotheca Alexandrina was inaugurated. The new library is dedicated to recapture the spirit of openness and scholarship of the original Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

Now, here is even more good news about the the power of the written word and freedom of expression. Watch this video of the director of the new Bibliotheca Alexandrina describing what saved the library as people took to the streets to demand radical political and economic reform. Alexandria Library Saved

And here is the Credo of the Library.

–          The world is my home

–          Humanity is my family

–          Non-violence is my creed

–          Peace, Justice, Equality and Dignity for all is my purpose

–          Engagement, Rationality, Tolerance, Dialogue, Learning, and understanding are my Means

With outstretched hands we welcome all those who share these beliefs.

I was not the only one stirred by what I saw in Alexandria. One of our travellers, Toronto architect Michael Kirkland, was captivated with the history of ancient coastal city and visions of its future. He has taken the remains of the fabled Pharos Lighthouse, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and designed a beacon to shine once more from this fabled spot. Wouldn’t it make a beautiful tribute to a new Egypt to have this phoenix of light and hope rising from the foundation of its glorious past?

The Pharos Lighthouse in Alexandria, Take 2

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  1. Pingback: Freedom's Lighthouse » CNN Interview With Protesters In Alexandria … « 7 Wonders of the Ancient World

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