Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Living among the DEAD"

91-04, originally uploaded by World Picture Service.

Call me crazy…
When I saw a news feature on Aljazeera today about poor and desperate Egyptians who have taken over one of Cairo’s major cemeteries and made it their permanent homes, I was flabbergasted to the core of my young life…
Are we safe?
Should it come to this level of desperation and neglect by authorities that children are born in cemeteries, going to school in the cemeteries; people have shops in the cemeteries?
I thought I had it bad….
Poor things! The kids looked totally oblivious to their strange environment.
One young boy of about 12 years old has a dream of becoming a doctor one day.
Oh how HOPEFUL he is…
I do remember there was a similar feature on Sowetans living in the cemetery also, but what really took me aback about the Cairo cemetery was that, the inhabitants have established a community and a strong bond society as if there’s nothing wrong about living in the cemetery.
Artisan shops, schools, day care centers, what you can think of, Kids playing on the tombs without concern are all part of their chores in the graveyard.
Maybe cultural differences have made me too concerned about this feature.
In West Africa, we FEAR the DEAD more than the living.
It is usually assumed and believed that when one dies, it assumes a greater spiritual power than in life. The dead can either harm you for revenge or be your so called guiding spirit (personally don’t buy that crap anyway).
Fear of the dead I must say is very prominent in West Africa for that matter we don’t mess with cemeteries.
I cannot foresee any sane West African for that matter deciding to live in the cemetery because of lack of shelter.
We better of sleeping in store fronts and school campuses that in a cemetery….
I don’t blame the Egyptian authorities fully though, with an estimated 20 million residents in Cairo alone, it is inevitable to have congestion and shortage of housing for all.
May we never be found wanting to this extent in our lives…
Where is Amnesty international when they claim they fight for human rights for all?
I believe the people living in the cemetery even though by choice, their rights to shelter have been abused and the children have also been emotionally and psychologically drained.
Therefore AMNESTY International needs to wake up to this story.

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