By Islam El Shazly
Tradespeople, craftsmen, artisans, farmers, and people who are handy with their hands and with a tool are all but extinct in Egypt. Same as people who have pride in the work they do, they too are all but extinct. Over the generations, less and less youth became interested in the trades, or in learning a craft, they were misguided into thinking that anything other than being an employee in a company is beneath them. And the ones who end up working in a trade, end up just doing a job, they want it over and done with, so we get sloppy work and shoddy workmanship. Even the clothes they wear are usually unkempt and dirty.
That’s what separates us (our generation and at least the couple before us) from older generations, our grandparents and great grandparents, they had a totally different perspective and outlook towards the work they did, whether they were porters, policemen, farmers or otherwise, they took pride in their profession, and their outward appearance reflected that pride. They were poor, yes, and some of them couldn’t even afford footwear—like the donkey men and the paver further down—but that didn’t deprive them of the pride of purpose.
I think that kind of pride that gave us the willpower to make great things has been lost somewhere along the way, we still see glimpses of it every now and then, but for the most part it has been lost. We need that pride of ownership, that pride of accomplishment to set us back on the right track again. We need to replace the image of the policeman as a brute, who can sometimes be obese and sloppy, with the image of the policeman who is fit and dapper, and take that to every profession, we need to send the message loud and clear, that learning a trade or a craft is more of a privilege and not something to be frowned one.
Maybe then we’ll start getting our artisans back, and maybe then our farmers can truly transform the once green deserted lands back into the way they were.
P.S. Thebes was the old ancient name of Luxor.
This post comes a day late, it was supposed to be published on Wednesday, but you can blame catching a cold on that!Tags: Alexandria, Brooklyn Museum, Cairo, Dahshour, Featured, Giza, Luxor Thebes, Porters, Pyramids, Sakkara