We had a server outage, and we're rebuilding the site. Most of the site features won't work. Thank you for your patience.
imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Why is Desmund Tutu silent on Egyptian aparthied.

by Joe Thursday, Jul. 04, 2002 at 5:57 AM

Why is Desmund Tutu silent on Egyptian aparthied.

Jews, legacy almost extinct in Egyptian city Alexandria's families fled wars, politics of region By Ellen Hale
USA TODAY July 2, 2001

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt -- The wood cabinets in the records room at Eliyahu Hanavi synagogue sag under the weight of dozens of mammoth leatherbound logbooks.
At his desk, 62-year-old Victor Balassiano, the youngest Jew left in Alexandria, leafs through one of them.

Here, in 1888, he points out, was a marriage. There, the birth of a baby boy. This, a death. In spidery handwriting and fading ink, the pages tell the story of the life and history of a community.

But the recent books are mostly blank. A birth hasn't been recorded in nearly two decades; there are only deaths -- and of those, just a handful.
In antiquity, Alexandria was one of the greatest Jewish cultural capitals of the world, in modern times a vibrant home to 40,000. Today, the Jewish community is for all practical purposes extinct in this city of 3 million people.

Jews were driven out by the thousands in the decades after World War II. The few hundred left behind have dwindled to a minuscule community on the verge of dying off. The story of the logbooks is the story of the disappearing Jews of Alexandria.

''The number of pure Jews left today? You can count them on two hands,'' Balassiano says, and proceeds to do so. ''Me, my wife, Dr. Salame, Sarah Cohen . '' At eight, he stops.

As the last Jews of Egypt disappear, the legacy of their history here seems doomed to vanish, too. Jews who fled the country are claiming their right to the scrolls, documents and even the information in Balassiano's record books that they were forced to forfeit when they left. Egypt has refused the requests. It claims the artifacts belong to the country under its antiquities laws.

At least 100 old Torah scrolls remain in Egypt, about half of them stored in less than ideal conditions. One stash of artifacts remains in boxes at the airport in Cairo, where it was confiscated as a returning Egyptian Jew tried to take the artifacts out of the country.

''The government is holding these things hostage,'' says Desire Sakkal, president of the Historical Society of Jews from Egypt, headquartered in Brooklyn.

''We left so much behind,'' says Sakkal, who fled Egypt in 1962.

Up until the 10th century, 90% of the Jews in the world lived in what are now Arab countries. But perhaps no place had as distinctive and rich aJewish legacy as Alexandria. From the time the city was founded more than 2,300 years ago by Alexander the Great until 40 years ago, Jews played a prominent role in establishing it as a center of culture and enlightenment.

In ancient times, a third of its population was Jewish, and for centuries it served as the birthplace and home of many of the religion's leading thinkers, writers and poets. Philo, the first Jewish philosopher, was from Alexandria; the 12th-century sage Maimonides lived and wrote here for a time.

Until the second half of the 20th century, as many as 40,000 Jews lived in Alexandria in a prosperous cosmopolitan community that, though not integrated with the Muslim population, lived peaceably with it. They set up hospitals, schools, homes for the aged and charity programs, and they ran many of the city's successful businesses. Even today, although ramshackle and rundown, the grand department stores still bear the names of their Jewish founders: Cicurel, Benizon, Chamla.

But after the creation of Israel in 1948, and in the aftermath of the Arab-Israeli wars, thousands of Jews fled Egypt. Others were evicted, or arrested and interned. Bank accounts were frozen, businesses confiscated and property seized.

Ada Aharoni's family, whose roots stretch to the 16th century, was evicted in 1949, allowed to take the equivalent of $40 and a few personal belongings. ''I took my favorite doll, the one with a porcelain head, ''recalls Aharoni, a poet who now lives in Israel. ''They cracked it open to look for money.''

After King Farouk was toppled in 1952, Arab nationalism and anti-Jewish sentiment increased. New laws made it virtually impossible for Egyptian Jews to work in government or run their businesses. By 1975, the Jewish population in Egypt had shrunk to 200; small communities were left only in Cairo and Alexandria.

In Alexandria, where once there were 16 synagogues, only the Eliyahu Hanavi remains. The others were sold, torn down and built over, or locked under government guard. The mansions of the wealthy Jews were sold or seized, the Jewish schools taken over and now used for Muslim students.

No one knows what will happen to the remaining property when the last of Alexandria's Jews die, nor can they predict the fate of the antiquities that bear proof of a society that thrived for generations.

''Everything Jewish will disappear unless there is some kind of remarkable turnaround,'' says Charles Hill, professor of international relations at Yale University. ''Many Muslims want any memory of that society to just disappear.''

At Eliyahu Hanavi synagogue, Balassiano pauses among the carved wood pews that bear bronze plaques carrying the names of the city's old Jewish families. The marble synagogue, on Naby Daniel Street in the colorful Attarine district in old Alexandria, is said to be one of the most beautiful in the Middle East. It seats nearly 1,000. But in addition to Balassiano, there are only two other Jewish men left in Alexandria -- far short of the 10 needed to hold a minyan, or prayer group. For religious holidays, men are flown in from Israel to make up a minyan.

Though he has lived tranquilly with his Muslim neighbors for decades, there are so few Jews left here and political tensions run so high that Balassiano and the last of the city's Jews keep a quiet profile. He doesn't tell people he is Jewish; his children didn't either, when they lived here. Balassiano's son has moved to Israel. Last year, his daughters moved to Boston to attend Northeastern University. He doubts they will ever come home, because home, he says, no longer exists in Alexandria.

''They are happy there, and they will not find any work here. Besides, they will never be able to marry and raise a family in Egypt,'' Balassiano says.

''Who will be here after me? I have been asking myself this for years now. Only God knows.''
Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 1 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
why is "Joe" silent about this? El Kabong Thursday, Jul. 04, 2002 at 5:07 PM

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM


lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

test O06 10:01AM

test O06 9:59AM

test O06 9:59AM

100 Ways GOP Have Stolen Elections Since 1876 O06 12:03AM

Proximospective de l'univocité réifiée O05 6:27AM

“Kava-no!!!” O04 6:42PM

Trump & Palestine vs. Genesis, Rashi & The Land of Israel O03 6:29PM

The Criminality of the Elites O03 11:35AM

Business de l'inhumanitaire O03 7:51AM

Marriage Rape/Date Rape Highest Rapes O02 2:59PM

Women I Know Get Raped - Too Many Times To Count! O02 2:55PM

Women In USA Have Stockholm Syndrom O02 2:50PM

Shooting Drill's Are Political Actual Shootings O02 2:47PM

Dr. Ford's Father Works With CIA O02 2:44PM

Weaponizing Frequencies O02 2:41PM

Google Abuses: Worldwide Spying, Censorship, War Promotion, Spying On Children, Etc O02 11:08AM

Paraphysique de l'administration O02 8:34AM

Paraphysique O02 8:31AM

Affordable Rents? A State of Emergency Intensifies O01 11:36AM

A Few Of Many Impeachable Acts by Trump Sessions And Others O01 4:41AM

Désengrammation, l'éloge de la suite S30 7:01AM

someone Should Work In Hollywood - Good Acting! S28 2:55PM

Ford Gives Psych Drugs To Lower Class To Shut Them Up? S28 2:51PM

Hilllary Calls Ford Trailer Trash? S28 2:47PM

Most Rapes Are In Marriages S28 2:43PM

Nice Boys Dirty Deeds S28 2:41PM

Minnesota 2nd Largest Rape State S28 2:39PM

Paraphysique de la plus-value S28 7:18AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy