Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Nobel Prize winner in critical condition

The winner of the 1988 Nobel Prize in Literature is reported to be in critical condition. His declining health is no surprise, since he is 95 years old, but as probably the most famous Egyptian novelist, Naguib Mahfouz will be mourned by most of the Arab world.

Yes, the Arab world has novelists. What, you thought they were all illiterates living in mud huts, herding sheep and riding camels? Remember, Egypt had civilization when Europeans were all a bunch of ignorant illiterates wearing animal skins and knocking each other over the head with rocks, over a thousand years before the Greeks developed the first literate European civilization. The predominant Arabic literary tradition is poetry, but sometimes they do lower themselves to prose...

- Badtux the Literary Penguin


  1. Hey Tux, have you checked out this blog? This lady is on our side. BBC

  2. Few people in the "civilized" west seem to remember that it was the Hebrew and Islamic worlds that kept learning alive during the Dark Ages, adn that we owe this part of the world a huge debt both on the literary and scientific fronts. We also tend to forget that Iraq was the Cradle of Civilization, as we all learned in elementary school. I love the History Channel and particularly the programs that remind us what an incredible social structure the Middle East had long, long before the Greeks and Romans (as you note).

  3. Speaking of the civilized West:

    America is the only nation in history which miraculously has gone directly from barbarism to degeneration without the usual interval of civilization.
    Georges Clemenceau

  4. Let's see, wasn't it the Persians that gave us algebra? And, wasn't it the Arabs that gave us Arabic numbers (Can you imaging computing equations of orbit using Roman numerals?!?). Plus, alcohol comes from an Arabic word. Thus, where would the western world be with out the Persians and Arabs?



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