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As the culture of storytelling has long been evaporated from our lives, Abeer Soliman is reviving this art through storytelling nights that are accompanied by a music group. On 23rd August, she held a storytelling performance at Diwan Heliopolis, directed by Aya Nabil, and based on Naguib Mahfouz’s ‘Layali Alf Leila’. The event took place outdoors and had an atmosphere that complemented the stories. Along with traditional music sung by ‘Aam Sayed Imam’, Abeer relayed the stories of ‘Sonaan’ and ‘Gamasa el Bolty’ while wearing Aladdin pants and shoes.
As the stories revolved around evil spirits and sultans, they still included several references to today’s Egypt, like the Emergency law and the on-going torture in prisons. “Was there ever a fair ruler?” she asked during the performance. “We included references to today’s life to give out the message that this is in an ongoing strife throughout history,” she later told what women want.
Abeer held two other ‘Layali Alf Leila’ in Ramadan. One took place in Darb 1718, part of the Mawaweel event, and another in Makan.
Garbage Dreams, the award-winning documentary about the area of Mansheyet Nasser, painted beautiful pictures of a situation that is not very beautiful. It was heart wrenching yet at the same time kept the close balance between keeping it realistic, and not trying to beautify the situation, despite of its strong visuals. It kept out unnecessary melodrama and had some humorous and light moments. The documentary followed the lives of three young boys, who worked in that area, throughout several years.
The Zabaleen (garbage men), were working effectively, by sorting out the garbage for recycling, until the foreign companies took monopoly over the garbage. When those companies took over, they got rid of the garbage in landfills and only recycled 20% of the garbage, which is far less than the 80% recycled by the Zabaleen.
The story follows the battle of the Zabaleen trying to regain their territory. They started by going around houses and asking for source segregation of garbage, which is sorting out the non-organic and the organic garbage in separate garbage bags. This worked effectively but not for too long. The foreign companies used to take the segregated garbage and put it together.
A screening of the film took place at the Nahdet el Mahroosa office on the 15th September and was followed by a Q & A session discussing the possibilities of contributing to society and helping out the Zabaleen. The segregation of garbage at their source was one easy possibility that anyone could follow, other ways were by donating to the recycling school. Flyers were also distributed, with information about the garbage situation in Egypt, like, how 1 ton of garbage provides work for seven garbage men. And that daily Egyptian household and commercial garbage makes up 1400 tons.