[ilds] A Tale of Two Alexandrias (WSJ)

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Sat Mar 5 09:58:49 PST 2011

Lucette Lagnado wrote The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit (2007).  She's Jewish, born in Cairo, and immigrated to the U.S., after she and her family were forced out of Egypt.  She knows what she's writing about.  The man in the title of her memoir was her father, Leon:  a devout Jew, fluent in English, French, and Arabic, who wore a tarboosh and who considered himself an "Arab."  His world of Cairo is gone, as is Durrell's Alexandria as a cosmopolitan center or "cosmopolis," as Michael Haag calls the vanished city.  I know a little about two of the people mentioned in her article:  Dr. Sahar Hamouda and Dr. Mohamed Awad.  They are academics with liberal views.  Dr. Hamouda did not wear a hijab.  Dr. Awad was trying to preserve the Ambron Villa.  In 2007, I met others like them in Alexandria, very open and stimulating people, but I didn't sense they were representative of the dominant Islamic culture of the city.  What Lagnado describes is essentially what I saw.  I have no idea what direction Egypt will take at this important moment in its history.  Since the country relies so heavily on tourism, I doubt that it will turn into another Iran.  I also seriously doubt that the beaches of Alexandria will see women in bikinis in the foreseeable future.


On Mar 5, 2011, at 6:47 AM, Charles Sligh wrote:

> Please see the Wall Street Journal piece below for several glances at Durrell's Alexandrian moment.
> The historical coverage in the article is a bit botched.  This story has been in the works for several weeks, with one of the authors interviewing prominent Alexandrians and biographers of modern Alexandria.  An editor's hand may or may not be at fault.  I suspect that what we read this morning has been cut down to size in light of how the West's attention has drifted away from Egypt and on to other events.   Sad for the Alexandrians. . . .
> ***
> A Tale of Two Alexandrias (Wall Street Journal)
> Over the past six decades, Egypt's second city has morphed from cosmopolitan oasis into Islamist stronghold
> MARCH 5, 2011
> http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703786804576138161911236484.html?mod=WSJ_LifeStyle_Lifestyle_5
> -- 
> ********************************************
> Charles L. Sligh
> Assistant Professor
> Department of English
> University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
> charles-sligh at utc.edu
> *******************************************
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