Egypt: Where they have burned books …

December 24th, 2011

Published on Pambazuka News, by Lillian Boctor speaking with Adham Hafez, December 22, 2011.

Set on fire on 17 December, the Egyptian Scientific Institute was another casualty of last week’s clashes between the military and protestors in Cairo. Lillian Boctor speaks to artist Adham Hafez, one of the volunteers working to save books and manuscripts from the damaged building.  

On 16 December 2011, Egyptian military forces violently attacked the three-week sit-in at the Cabinet building in Cairo. The protesters were demanding that the military ruling council hand over power to civilians.

Military police and central security forces continued to brutally attack, kidnap, kill, detain and torture protesters at Tahrir and in the surrounding downtown Cairo area, as well as systematically sexually assault and beat women. L’Institut d’Egypte, or the Egyptian Scientific Institute, was set on fire on Saturday morning, 17 December 2011.

L’Institute d’Egypte was a research centre created by Napoleon Bonaparte during the 18th century French Invasion of Egypt. It was home to thousands of rare books and manuscripts, including Napoleon’s historic ‘Description de l’Egypte.’ Protesters and volunteers have been working non-stop to try and salvage the manuscripts and books … //

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