The New Alexandrias

Alexandria used to be the “It city” of the Hellenistic period. While some inland cities like Jerusalem and Damascus had a good strategical position and were important religious centres, almost all the great philosophers lived and operated in Alexandria. Why Alexandria? Because it was a port city and close to the sea. It is well known that many of the peoples of the Near East lived by and loved the sea , such as the Greek, and the Phoenicians (which the Israelites referred to as Canaan). The Israelites (who are now the Jews) started as a kind of sub-culture and fashion on Canaan (and archaeologists witness a transition in Palestine and other parts of the Levant from the Canaanite period to the Israelite period). However, they later on were heavily influenced by both the Phoenicians and the Greek, by culture, ideals and even by blood. Even in the Bible, the Tribe of Dan is described as “setting sail to ships”.

Today there are many Alexandrias: New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, Barcelona, Rome, Rio-de-Janeiro, Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai - even (and for us Israelis - especially) Tel Aviv. And even Alexandria, in its more modern form, after at least a single destruction, is the second largest city in Egypt, and probably more vibrant than Cairo, which is the inland capital.

Here's the thing about human life: it's not preserved automatically. It must be kept alive by effort. Often a lot of effort. You must fight death, irrationality and stagnation, from within and from without. Often it involves some pain, but usually fighting for your life is fun and rewarding, and gives you a lot of joy. It is well known that of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World only the Pyramids of Giza still stand. But while the other wonders were marvels of aesthetic beauty, the Pyramids are just giant, non-aesthetic, graves, which no one would like to live in.