By Islam El Shazly
One of the main reasons for reminiscing is to escape the present, it is undeniable, the urge and the yearning for better times or better quality of life, or cleaner air. It makes for a good flight away from the grind of modern day life that has become the most common feature throughout the later part of the 20th century and the current century!
Fact is concepts like “quality of life” are an invention of the second half of the 1900’s, when we began to dissect every aspect of our lives, granted, quality of life is a very important aspect of our livelihood, and it is most certain that it preoccupied our predecessors, but I doubt that it was the driving force behind their existence. Life might have been harder for them, but then again that is because it is our perception of them based on our own lives and our own comfort zones. We see them through our own experiences, we admire and love the simplicity of their lives, but not everyone can give their lives a go.
You see the picture with the children, all of them with bare feet, and you might feel sorry for them, but if you look closer you will see the undeniable curiosity in the faces. You look at the image of ramshackle housing and you might miss the gorgeous mashrabeys and the touch of the artisan in them. Forget the stereotyping and take a good look at the pictures, they might have not had the ever elusive “quality of life”, but they were content.
The last picture in this set is of the old Egyptian Museum in Giza. The collection was initially housed in Boulaq in the late 19th century and was established by Auguste Mariette before being moved to Ismail Pasha’s palace in Giza in 1891 (which is probably the one in the picture) before finally being relocated to its permanent location in 1902, the first purpose-built museum in the world.
Tags: Brooklyn Museum, Egypt Post, Egyptian Museum, Featured, Girga, Girgeh, Giza, Tomb of the Caliphs