Irrecoverable cosmopolitanism

screen-shot-2017-01-14-at-22-35-55The Constantinople of Pierre Loti, writes Dalrymple, was

sophisticated, tolerant and civilised.

And in Alexandria before 1956,

national and religious communities interacted amicably, spoke one another’s languages, understood and respected one another’s customs and participated in one another’s festivals, often while occupying different niches in the economy.

This cosmopolitanism was

harmonious rather than cacophonous, dignified, settled rather than fleeting. It was not drug- and crime-ridden, nor were its youth attracted to low-self-control, high-sensation ghetto culture.

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