الأربعاء، أغسطس 16، 2006

My People


I was among those lucky ones who had managed to go on a trip to Alexandria, before the crowded summer started. We started our journey by the French Souq. In this place a "7ara" inside another "7ara" inside another, I've seen a scene which I'm never going to lose.
It is early in the morning, 10 am, so the sun is still sending those tender warm white rays. They are penetrating a wooden ceiling to reach my cold trembling cheeks. Yes, those old souqes have ceilings! I raise my face to look at the wooden ceiling and welcome the rays. The light tickles my eyes. I smile. I close my eyes, lower my face, and open them again on a magical scene. In one of those extremely narrow streets, I stopped to look at a workshop that makes "Oyma"; wooden arabesque ornaments. I see the worker sitting at the door of the shop. It is early in the day. He is starting his day and his work. It is as if life is starting a new day, not only this worker. The white rays are falling on the wooden pieces of Oyma and letting their reddish brown color shine.

I can clearly smell the scent of wood. That very scent, you used to smell whenever you stepped inside your grandmother's old room to say "ana geit" on a Friday morning when you were a child.

The place was very quiet, the only sound I can hear is the voice of a Sheik citing some of the verses of the Quran about benevolence with parents "Al-e7san ila Al-Abawein", those verses are encouraging people to be kind to their parents that's why they are extremely peaceful and passion-raising.

The sun's warm white rays, the smell of wood, the sound of the sheik, the beautiful forms of the Oyma, the dark-skinned worker.. the scene was magical.

The worker raised his face, kindly smiled at me and said, "you can take a photo of the oyma if you want to." Do I look that much like a stranger to the place and the people?! Listening to his words, I felt the coldness of my cheeks again despite the sun rays.. I took a photo, said "thank you", smiled at him, and left. I left with an over-whelming feeling of belonging to the place, and to the people. My people.


Note: The attached picture is for the dome of an old mosque in Alexandria. I meant not to post the pictures of the souq. I want the reader to freely imagine the described place.