[ilds] The Lost Capital of Memory

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Fri Aug 14 09:05:18 PDT 2009

Ah, this time I understand.  If discussion is the purpose of the ILDS,  
then negativity is a power well spent.


On Aug 14, 2009, at 1:31 AM, Marc Piel wrote:

> Hello Galal,
> Some of the people on the Durrel list are contunually negative.
> I think they do it on purpose; it is their "power".
> BR Marc
> Here is one I received this morning:
> "I am no authority on Alexandria, just a casual observer.  I was  
> there for only five days, but the trends were disturbing.  The old  
> cosmopolitan culture of Greeks, Jews, Copts, Christians, Arabs,  
> Armenians, et al. is disappearing.  The city is no longer Durrell's  
> city of diversity and tolerance.  Read Dr. Mohamed Awad's article in  
> Deus Loci, "The House Revisited, the City Remembered" (vol. 7,  
> 1999-2000), for a local assessment of the cultural situation.  Also  
> read and study Michael Haag's book of old photographs, Vintage  
> Alexandria:  Photographs of the City 1860-1960 (Cairo 2008).  That  
> city is quickly vanishing.  More distressingly, some try to wipe out  
> that memory and say it never really existed or was never  
> representative of "real" Alexandria.  VA was recently reviewed in  
> TLS (26 June 2009), and the reviewer, Maria Golia, an American and  
> longtime resident of Cairo, assumes the Islamist viewpoint and  
> claims that Durrell's "capital of Memory" was never more than a  
> society enjoyed by the families of "the very, very few."  Golia  
> presumably means rich, decadent families of foreign lineage.  She  
> sounds a good deal like Mr. Sobhi Saleh, a Muslim Brotherhood MP, as  
> quoted in Daniel Williams's article.  Haag responded to Golia's  
> review and wrote, "They were not so few, and their families had been  
> in Egypt for generations, in some cases for centuries.  They had  
> been welcomed in Egypt for their expertise, energy and capital; they  
> played a major role in developing the country — they played an  
> authentic part in Egyptian history" (TLS, 2 July 2009).  Seems to  
> me, that in Egypt today there is a concerted effort to deny the  
> history that Haag refers to, the same one Durrell cherished."

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