Friday, January 20, 2012

Saving Egypt's fire-bombed books

BBC News (Sarah Hashash)

Thousands of historical documents could be lost following a fire at the Institute of Egypt - which began during clashes in Tahrir Square last month - but an army of restoration workers is working day and night to save the country's written history.

The plain-clothes security guard in the dingy ground-floor office at Egypt's National Archives eyes my camera suspiciously.

On the desk in front of him lies a heavy black revolver. After a brief dispute with my guide and phone calls to his seniors, he reluctantly lets me in.

I am led into an adjoining room where, knee-deep in stacks of newspapers, men and women wearing face masks, rubber gloves and white lab coats are hard at work.

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