This past weekend's disgusting display of brutality and violence once again on the streets of Cairo, sadly has left the world a much emptier place. On the street where people were inhumanely beaten dead or unconscious with sticks and raw boots to the head, an historic building containing some of the world's great treasures burned helplessly.
The building, the Egyptian Insitute, was founded by Napoleon Bonaparte during the French Campaign in 1798. It housed 200,000 books and documents, of which an estimated 40,000 were rare manuscripts including an original copy of the ‘Description de l'Egypte’ written by the scientists of the French campaign to Egypt (1798-1801). All lost to humanity, thanks to a molotov cocktail.
Tragic fires can happen anywhere in the world as can riots as was witnessed on the streets of London this past summer. But thousands of miles away from the flames that obliterated more of the world's important historical heritage in Cairo, the bust of Nefertiti, the Rosetta Stone, the Elgin Marbles and other priceless cultural objects were safe and sound. But clearly, future generations are best served when cultural patrimony is not concentrated in any single country.
Click here for an account of the fire in Egypt.