Sunday, August 18, 2013

Faces of Egypt


I had planned to publish my second post about Cape Scott today, but the recent events in Egypt have changed my mind.



Coptic Christian

You all have heard about what is currently happening in Egypt. This country is close to my heart. I visited it twice in the nineties - the first time I went there from Israel, just to climb Mount Sinai to enjoy the sunset from there (that, by the way, would be a lovely blog post on its own); the second time I stayed again in the Sinai, Cairo, Alexandria and enjoyed a Nile cruise that was kind of out of this world.

Doing laundry - and waving at us rich tourists passing by on a luxurious boat


Egypt is a fascinating country - some of you might remember my post about Aswan. And while I enjoyed seeing all its old temples and getting more knowledgeable about its history, what really fascinated me was the unforgiving landscape of the Nile, and I fell in love with the people.



The people of Egypt - such a colorful crowd. I saw everything, from educated women in western clothes heading to their classes at University to women in beautiful gowns doing the laundry in the waters of the Nile to covered women both in the big cities and in rural areas. Men who work the fields and in tourism - "maids" in hotels, waiters in bars and restaurants, staff on the cruise ships. Educated men in suits who work in Cairo, students who work as tour guides. Men who just hang out in the old temples, sell souvenirs to the tourists, follow you everywhere in the hope of selling you some trinket or other. Children who guard the goats or work in small factories, weaving rugs and beautiful carpets (this made me sick to my stomach). I remember how often I felt guilty to have so much money (compared to what they have) that enabled me to travel the world; often I felt like a voyeur and I wasn't always happy with myself taking all these pictures. People were so incredibly kind and friendly. What they always asked for was a "stylo" - a pen. Good thing I had tons of them as I was also journaling furiously at that time.



Bedouins

This is a poor country. And it doesn't look that this is going to change anytime soon. I remember how safe I felt there - well, that certainly is a thing of the past. Egypt will lose big time in its tourism industry, and that means the country's economy will suffer since tourism has been so important for it. I feel blessed that I could visit this beautiful and somehow magical country and I am tremendously saddened by its development over the past months.




I took these pictures of the people in Egypt 17 years ago. Many of them will still be there, some of them will have passed away. I wonder what has happened to them, what is happening to them right now. How they make ends meet. How they survive.



11 comments:

Ann said...

It is heart-breaking for sure. Beautiful people.
Ann

Gotham Girl said...

Wow! Incredible pictures taken 17 years ago! One would've thought just recently...well with the exception of what's going on there. Thanks for sharing.

windrock studio said...

Absolutely gorgeous images, Carola ~ so happy that you shared these.

Elephant's Child said...

Thank you. This is a very beautiful post. And a timely reminder.
My partner has been to Egypt three times now - and loved the people, the country, the history...
And my heart hurts for its people.

KB Bear said...

You took such expressive and beautiful photos in Egypt. It made everything feel so very real - like I was there.

If it's any consolation, I have a friend who is an Egyptian native (but US citizen) and is presently visiting her family there. She says that the violence is only apparent in very specific areas and she has not been impacted. I should add that her family is wealthy so they live in a well-guarded community so her experience is probably not true for everyone. However, as an example, she said that she went shopping for food yesterday just like on any other day...

Of course, we all know that there is serious unrest in parts of Egypt and I'm not trying to downplay that part...

I truly love your photography.

Faye said...

Such wonderful photos of Egypt and a clear reminder that everyone there is not out in the square protesting and worse. I love the variety of the populace that you show. Beautiful work.

Kay L. Davies said...

I, too, mourn for Egypt, a country I have wanted to visit all my life, but have never seen. How much worse for you, who have known and loved its people, seen the mothers and children.
Your photos are beautiful, Carola, and priceless now: doubly precious.
K

Maria Ontiveros said...

Thank you for this wonderful post, for reminding us to think about, care about events in the world, even if they are taking place on the other side of the globe.
The man in the middle of your post has such a captivating face. . . as done the small child at the end.
Rinda

MeOfCourse said...

I agree with Maria. We all care about the events happening there right now. All your photos tell a story. I think if we have good water, bread, milk and oatmeal, we could all survive on that. Thanks for the reminder.

Sally H said...

Wonderful images Carola. I too am thinking about Egypt as only recently two families who had been in our school for several years have moved back there as their parent's university course had finished. I just pray that they are safe. Just before the summer break one of our Libyan children said to me 'My country is broken. A bad man broke it, but now the people are going to mend it'. If only adults saw life in the same way as children...

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

Thanks so much for sharing your photos! It's wonderful to see the people to put faces to those I pray for. Sweet hugs!