Back in Beirut
After two weeks in Cairo, I’m back in Beirut, welcomed by scamming cab drivers, power cuts, water shortages and a bit of Eid violence. Despite the obvious difficulties of getting reporting done in Egypt during the tail end of Ramadan, the trip was pretty productive.
I’ll have a few articles coming out about Cairo sometime soon and will post them up here. One, for Executive, will be a long piece taking a look at Cairo real estate. I won’t give anything away here now, but trust me, it’s a lot more exciting than it sounds: lots of corruption, history, politics (and even murder!) involved along with single residential developments larger than most cities.
I’m also working on a piece about the Zabaleen community of Cairo’s suburbs. The “garbage people” who live in “Garbage City” under Cairo’s Muqattam cliffs are a community of over 60,000 Coptic Christians who have collected the city’s waste for generations. But, in recent years, they have become marginalized by the Egyptian government and have been forced to scavenge for trash. Despite their primitive technology and methods, it has been claimed that the Zabaleen recycle up to 80% of the trash that they collect. Along with photographer Sam Tarling, I spent a bit of time in Cairo with the Zabaleen, taking a look at the hardships they face and how they go about dealing with the business of trash.
In the meantime, check out this trailer for Mai Iskander’s 2009 documentary film Garbage Dreams about the Zabaleen.