By Islam El Shazly
Peering back into history to find the beauty of a time gone by is a very delicate affair, an affair that if not done with a sensitive eye and an attentive heart, could end up being a very short lived fling.
As Agatha Christie put it:
“The lure of the past came up to grab me. To see a dagger slowly appearing, with its gold glint, through the sand was romantic. The carefulness of lifting pots and objects from the soil filled me with a longing to be an archaeologist myself.”
-Christie expressing her interest in archaeology, a passage from An Autobiography (London, 1984), p. 389
Looking at these delicate slides I see familiar faces; craftsmen, farmers, merchants, and children. I see majestic great ships and schooners, and a life very simple, that is as paradoxical as Egypt itself. One look at pre WWI Cairo and you realize that fashion and high society was synonymous with Cairo, and not with Paris or New York.
I imagine it was a beautiful place to be in.
But there’s a flip-side to that coin; Egypt was under British occupation, a status quo that would remain well into the middle of the 20th century, and British Empire did not take kindly to dissent. And happiness lived side by side with misery, much like it is today, you only have to look into these three little girls’ eyes to realize how miserable they were. The only difference being, we no longer have the craftsmen, we barely have the farmers, and barely any majestic ships lay anchor at our shores.
But perhaps this will change full circle, we just need to look, listen, and learn from our past.Tags: Al-Mu'izz, Aswan, Brooklyn Museum, Cairo, Conservation, Egypt, Featured, Heritage, Lantern Slides, Port Said, Wednesday Nostalgia