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10 March 2007 @ 09:16 am
Happy Hypatia's Day!  
Hypatia of Alexandria, a Roman Pagan, was the daughter of a mathematician and scholar named Theon. She publically publicly taught the philosophies of Plato and Artistotle, and would lecture about/teach philosophy, science, math, etc. to slaves and aristocrats alike in public forums. In the month of March, during Lent, a sect of Roman Christians (the theories of why are numerous, but all point to the oppression of Paganism being sanctioned by two Christian patriarchs of Alexandria: Theophilus and Cyril) lynched her and she was martyred as a Pagan but especially as a Public Educator.

The legends suggest that Hypatia was opposed to rewriting books to "sanitize" them to contemporary Christian standards, believed in free education regardless of socio-economic status, and defied Christian edicts to continue teaching science and philosophy to the general public. Many Christians respected her and she was by no means universally hated or oppressed by Christians. Many Christians joined the Pagans in mourning her violent death.

On March 10th each year, I honor Hypatia and her innumerable sons and daughters who boldly stand up for education at Libraries and Schools across the world.

LIBRARIANS --- thank you for working so hard to bring the written word to the rich, the poor, the well-read and ill-educated. Thank you for loving and maintaining the core knowledge, and being such a wonderful literary resource for the general public.

LITERACY TUTORS --- thank you for working so hard to give the ill-educated the tools to participate in the free education that can be found in public libraries.

TEACHERS --- thank you for teaching our children what they need to grow and survive IN SPITE of the protests of overzealous, over-protective parents and organizations everywhere, and thank you for doing it at 1/8th the monetary compensation you have earned.

This year, I am honoring Hypatia by participating in this Harmful Books Book Club: harmful_books.

We discovered yesterday that the SPL doesn't currently have a copy of Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche. One way you can actively participate in Hypatia's Day is by Suggesting that this "harmful" book be purchased by SPL here (you will need your library card number hand):

http://www.spl.org/default.asp?pageID=collection_spurch

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypatia

Let there be no censorship, even if we disagree.
Let there always be free, public access to libraries and education.
Let there always be an intelligent intercourse between differing religions and philosophies.

Never forget Hypatia.