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Bias in the Great Library at Alexandria?

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bibliotheca alexandrina
The Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Not long ago I was in Alexandria, Egypt, where I visited the new Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the modern successor to the ancient world’s Great Library. It is a remarkable structure, a huge discus slanted at an angle, facing the Mediterranean. The Rough Guide to Egypt informed me that “the library was controversial even before its inauguration in 2002 (when an exhibition of books from every nation featured the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as Israel’s entry).”

This struck me as plausible; some Mubarak regime functionary a decade ago taking a meaningless cheap shot to cover up for its actual collaboration with Israel to suppress Palestinians and its massive economic and social failures in Egypt itself.
But what about the Alexandria Library today? Are its collections biased? I entered, passing hundreds of Egyptian university students doing their homework, and climbed up the slanted stairways toward the shelves that housed the History of the Middle East.

I found books in Arabic, English, French and other languages. I found pro-Israel books, by people like Barry Rubin and Walter Laqueur. And I found Six Days of War, the tendentious history of the 1967 conflict, by none other than Michael Oren, Israel’s present ambassador to the United States.

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when an exhibition of books from every nation featured the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as Israel’s entry Where else would the Protocols come from? Russia? France? The Czech Republic? The organisers of the conference obviously supported the thesis that Jews are indigenous to Palestine. Bloody Zionist sympathisers. Anything… Read more »

You might say this is off-topic but my reaction is a bit different. Isn’t really sad, or pitiable, or laughable (depending on your sympathies) that the Egyptians and their donors spent a colossal fortune on that building just a couple years before the advent of Google Books? Here in the… Read more »

Fascinating structure mostly naturally lit by sunlight through all these roof openings seen in the picture above. Prior to its opening, the Telegraph in 2001 wrote: “The new oval building, designed by a Norwegian architect, has been widely hailed as a masterpiece. Its marble walls, inscribed with the alphabets of… Read more »

I had great replies lined up to all of you, ready to zing you all each in turn. Then the internet access at the cafe I was killing time at blipped and I lost them all. So I suppose that’s the best reply I can make, though not the one… Read more »

The Internet has reached a point where it is a threat to the establishment. The influence of the Internet has reached critical mass and more than ever these guys want to police it. Even if intelligence agencies had a hand in helping to provoke protests, they certainly didn’t act as… Read more »