A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Post # 300: After the Pigs, What Will the Zabbalin Do?

I think this is going to show up as the 300th post on this blog, so I guess it's some cause for celebration.

Al-Masry al-Youm has a new, beta website up, and its English pages contain an interesting article, Now That the Pigs Are Gone: How Will the Zabaleen Make a Living After the Culling of Pigs?

It's a good question: I know that I've spent more time on the pig issue than seems reasonable, but I feel it really does show an aspect of the current Egyptian government's policies that aren't very well thought through. The zabbalin (the "Zabaleen" of the article) are the garbage collectors of Cairo. Overwhelmingly Copts, they have traditionally raised pigs in the garbage dumps out on the edge of the desert. Some Coptic leaders, both in Egypt and abroad, have charged that the entire swine flu pig cull is really a new attempt to oppress the Christian population by robbing them of their livelihood.

The Al-Masry Al-Youm article seems to be a fairly serious inquiry and worth a read. I couldn't find the equivalent article on the Arabic website: this is still a beta site and I don't know my way around it yet.

1 comment:

alle said...

Congratulations on no. 300!