During the events in Egypt, a protective human chain was formed around the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt’s second largest city. “Not a single stone was thrown at the glass façade,” said Ismail Serageldin, who directs the library. The Bibliotheca Alexandrina contains four museums, a planetarium, a children’s science center, a library for the blind and eight research institutes. It is the modern successor to the ancient library of Alexandria. It houses 1.3 million volumes. People frequent the collections in part to gain access to materials that are unheard of in Arab countries. These include materials critical of Islam, gay and lesbian literature and art history volumes containing nudes. Divergent Ideas and dissenting opinion have taken root here. The library is now closed until  Egypt is stabilized. The library’s human chain and others like it protecting the country’s greatest treasures impressed me as I watched the chaos unfold. It illustrates the goodness of the human spirit. As Ismail Serageldin puts it “It’s moral power.” To see a video about this click here.

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