Some people have all the historical luck

Anthropologist Marshall Sahlins on the European rediscovery of the Greeks that led to the Renaissance:

What else can one say about it, except that some people have all the historical luck? When Europeans invent their traditions -- with the Turks at the gates -- it is a genuine cultural rebirth, the beginnings of a progressive future. When other peoples do it, it is a sign of cultural decadence, a factitious recuperation, which can only bring forth the simulacra of a dead past.

From Waiting for Foucault, Still [PDF].

Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region,