…today Alexandria is an immense Egyptian city more populous than Paris, sanctimonious and poor, but it takes pride in a beautiful library, built by a government in love with pharaonic projects, one of the emptiest libraries on the planet, symbol of the regime of Mubarak the opinionated, a beautiful grey shell in Aswan marble - nothing returns from what has been destroyed, nothing is reborn, neither dead men, nor burned libraries, nor submerged lighthouses, nor extinct species, despite the museums commemorations statues books speeches good will, of things that gone only a vague memory remains, a shadow gliding over sorrowful Alexandria a phantom shivering, and that’s all the better no doubt, all the better, you have to know how to forget, let men animals things leave…
This isn’t my favorite excerpt from the 517 page long sentence, but it’s perhaps the most quotable without having to run on for another 200 pages or so.
as the Iraq War began to turn against US forces, the United States Special Operations chiefs held a screening of The Battle of Algiers in the Pentagon
Things like this make me unsure of everything and everyone. Screening The Battle of Algiers to justify or re-dedicate to something like the Iraq War seems as bizarre and fucked up and depraved as, say, screening The Boiler Room as an example for financial practices one should pursue or screening Glengarry Glen Ross as an exemplar of how to be a salesman.
In the land of the pyramids, dreadful battles happened,
Clashes with the rabid owners of slaves.
That’s what this papyrus is relating.
It tells us of our nameless precursors,
Of slaves, madly daring, courageous fighters,
And the rich people’s furious hatred,
The impotent priests, long since turned to dust,
Their bellies still bursting with malice.
- Nikolai Buhkarin, Sept. 1937