Sunday, October 12, 2008

Edward Said Was Here!

In my class today, I showed a documentary about Edward Said called Selves and Others, which is essentially a film of interviews shortly before he died of leukemia in 2003. It described his upbringing here in Cairo and discussed his secondary education here prior to going to boarding school in the US. He attended Victoria College which is right at the end of my street, and even showed a picture of his report card! Its wall is probably less than 100 meters from me; I can see it from my balcony.

He said all of the teachers at VC were British (none of the students were). They taught him only European history, and he didn't learn Egyptian history until later. In 1951, he was expelled for being a "troublemaker" and was sent to boarding school in the US. I read more about his experience at VC in an article I found in the London Review of Books. I need to reread his autobiography, Out of Place. VC was quite a place; his classmates included King Hussein of Jordan and Omar Sharif! Under Nasser, Victoria College became Victory College, which remains its name today.

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