Saturday, June 25, 2016

Throwback World Refugees Day : Little Damascus street in October City

Earlier this week , the world celebrated  the World Refugees Day and on Friday the World woke up to the news that the people in the UK voted to leave and the refugees played a role in the decision that is turning Europe and the world upside down.
I will seize those opportunities to share my photos as well my short trip to that Little Damascus street in October city in Giza in March.
I went to one of the famous Syrian streets in October city for a work assignment, where a huge flourishing Syrian community is located since 2012.
In the suburbs of Giza governorates, October city has been a perfect location for Syrians just like Iraqis before them.
Already Syrians there told me that they found every kind of residence and rent that suit all classes. You will find villas in gated compounds for rich Syrians as well affordable rents for working-class Syrians.
Same thing for schools , from international expensive schools to the public schools where Syrian students are treated like Egyptians as Special Syrian schools made by Syrian associations in Egypt for young Syrians students.
When I tried to reach that street in October city , a Young Syrian man standing in another street gave me directions.
Located behind October University and Al-Hosary Mosque , that Syrians street is the most famous among the streets of October city owned by Syrians.
The  street is actually a passageway between building complex known in the area as "Al-Amerika" {The American} Building.
 Locals call it "Al-Amerika Mall"

Inside the Syrians street
The Syrians street in October city 
It is located behind El-Hossary Mosque which has been a hot spot for Syrian refugees since 2012 as its charity association provide help to them.
Only four shops and cafes are reportedly owned by Egyptians throughout the Passageway full of Syrian restaurants selling popular food at affordable prices , cafes , barbershop and even mobile phones shops.

Syrian shops and restaurants
Syrian names like Sham "Levant" and "Syria" are common here. 
There is this Syrian mini-market with Syrian and Turkish goods. It sells Syrian cheese and herbs like Thyme mix made by Syrians in Egypt.
Syrian cheese
Syrian handmade cheese in that mini-market
You will find the spices and herbs mix packets written on it the famous phrase : Made in Egypt by Syrian hands.
Most of the customers of that mini-market as well the Syrian herbs and spices shop beside it are Syrians who are looking of a little taste of home.
Syrian Thyme Mix "Zaatar"
Syrian thyme mix as well vine paper pickles and makados pickles "Yummy" 
I spoke with "Abu Salah" , who is one of the owners of the biggest food Syrian restaurants there and he told me that he came from three years with his family.
Originally working in the restaurants industry in Syria , he and his partner opened their restaurant in October city despite the Egyptian red tapes.
Abu Salah and his partner employ Syrians and Egyptians in successful and popular business.

smiling in front of the Shawarma
A Syrian man working in that restaurant smiling to the camera 
Food and culinary businesses are booming for Syrians in Egyp already as Egyptians love food.
Already located beside the 6 October university , there is no shortage of customers from students looking for quick and affordable yet tasty meal.

The nice falafel guys
Two Syrian young men working a ful and falafel restaurant owned by an Egyptian man
Of course speaking with people there in the street , you will find that young Syrian men hope to travel to Europe for a better future especially they suffer from economic woes in Egypt just like Egyptians. 
On the other hand , business owners think Egypt is better than any country now because after all they are settled down and their work is successful one. 

Two Syrian young men working in ful and falafel restaurant

I went to October city in 2012 and made interviews with families that fled El-Assad forces and its attacks against rebel cities during then.
It was an unforgettable day for me. I can not forget how I was received warmly by those families still struggling in a new country and how hospitable they were with me.
I can not forget either how I met a widow whose husband killed in Huma while aiding other people, that widow came with her old mother and three children.
I can not forget either how I met a young man who was paralyzed thanks to Al-Assad forces' sniper in Homs and how his old mother came helping him.
I do not know what happened to those families in the past four years.I wondered what happened to them
I met those families through the ladies of the Syrian community in Egypt , mostly Upper-Class ladies who did not and have not stopped helping their Syrian brothers and sisters since day one.

According to the UNHCR , there are 117,702 Syrians registered as refugees in its office in Egypt in May 2016.
Unofficially there are speculations that there are over half million Syrians living in the country.
Most the Syrians do not register with UNHCR in order to have more freedom in movement as far as I know.

Syrian refugees won't steal your jobs , they will make their own jobs and businesses if they are given the opportunity.
I wish that Egypt was in better condition to host more and more Syrians.
Thanks to Egypt and to Egyptian people and government
A "Thank you ,Egypt" banner in the street


  1. You said "Syrian refugees won't steal your jobs , they will make their own jobs and businesses if they are given the opportunity."

    This is called jobs added to the economy. They are actually adding to the GDP and contribute to the economic growth of the country. Each job opportunity created by a Syrian spins a new capital cycle that adds value to our ailing economy. This will be a comeback post to my blog; how to revive the Egyptian economy, prevent rural-urban sprawl of upper Egyptians and their unfateful migration to major centres. Syrians in particular are a good example of that.

    Unfortunately, a bunch of moronic shitheads are running the country. Ahhh no, why should I write again on Egypt. It is a desperate case. We are already facing a worse fate than these Syrians. Despite these glimpses of light you share, I see a darker future laying ahead of us.

    1. I fear from the same darker future but I keep hanging on those glimpses of lights.

  2. I don't mean to be racist, but the refugees in Egypt are very different from the refugees in Europe. 1) Many refugees in Europe are neither refugees nor Syrian 2) Unlike Europe, Egypt doesn't offer welfare and housing, so it only attracts Syrian who are either rich or hard workers.

    The mainstream media doesn't cover the crimes committed by the so called refugees in Europe. Check out for a decent coverage of refugees related news. Yes, it's a white supremacists board, but at it least it doesn't bury such news.


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