Trash: A Rather Unusual Form of Expertise that Middle Eastern Christians Have to Offer the World

THis is an amazing blog post. A must read. Thanks, Kathy Kraft.

The Institute of Middle East Studies

Cairo, Egypt, is one of the world’s largest metropoles. Many people associate Cairo with the Giza Pyramids, with one of the most impressive national museum collections in the world, and with the more recent iconic images of protests in Tahrir Square during the early days of the so-called Arab Spring. If you have visited Cairo, thoughts of the city will readily conjure memories of pollution, crowded streets and crazy drivers.

But something else that distinguishes Cairo, that we are unlikely to notice if no one points it out to us, is its garbage collection system. Most of the garbage collection in this megacity is done by the 60,000 residents of a community on the outskirts of the city that is referred to popularly as Hay al-Zabbaleen, or Garbage City. This community is mostly Coptic Orthodox Christian, and has for decades lived off of the profits from collecting and recycling the…

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