Monday, December 22, 2014

Who will bury the last dinosaur?

Articles about the fast-shrinking Jewish community of Egypt are popular these days following the screening of Jews of Egypt, Amir Ramses's nostalgic portrayal of a pluralist past. The last dinosaurs -  the nine Jewish ladies led by Magda Haroun - are keen to show they will remain Egyptian patriots to the grave. Article by Nadera Bouazza in Slate (with thanks: Eliyahu):

The Adly synagogue, Cairo (Photo: Reuters/Asma Waguih)

 Magda Haroun, president of the Jewish community in Egypt, is overseeing the festivities. The synagogue is alive. As a girl in festive dress, she ran down the aisles while the adults were praying. Today she compares herself to the Last Dinosaur:

     "It must have felt sad to see everyone around them disappear. Me too, everyone around me is disappearing. I'm burying them one after the other. I do not know who will bury me? "

The Jewish community, like a family of diplodocus, gradually reduced to a trickle until the Six Day War. Less than a  week of military activity  between an Arab coalition and Israel would seal the fate of the Jews in the region.

     "Until the 1967 war, my friends were leaving, we did not know why. I felt that the family was shrinking day by day. I was little, I did not ask questions. A story without words. I began to realize what was happening when my cousins left. My grandparents were crying then. I did not understand why. "

Magda's mother decided to stay. Her husband, like all men of the community aged 18 to 60, had been interned during the Arab-Israeli war of 1967. Without him, she refused to leave the country. "My mother had a French identity card in her pocket, she could flee. She did not make that choice. "

Read article in full (French)

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