Wednesday, March 2, 2011

No stone touches Bibliotheca Alexandrina

One of the most inspiring stories to emerge from the demonstrations in Egypt, at least for this aspiring librarian, was news that demonstrators formed a protective barrier around the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. The Library of Alexandria reopened in late February after having been closed for the last few weeks.

As reported by NPR, the library had been closed during the demonstrations, both to protect it from vandalism and to protest a curfew that had been imposed by the army. According to the library’s director, Ismail Serageldin, not a stone was thrown at the library and not a pane of glass was broken.

"What happened was pure magic," he said in the NPR interview. "People from within the demonstrations broke out of the demonstrations and simply linked hands and they said 'This is our library. Don't touch it.'"

Serageldin added, "This revolution in Egypt was a liberal revolution. People who believe in democracy and freedom of expression, in pluralism, and openness," he said. "And I'm proud and happy that the Library of Alexandria may have contributed in some small way to supporting the kinds of ideas that have found their expression in the young people who led this revolution."

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