Friday, February 18, 2005

Clueless in Egypt

This article, from the February 2005 issue of Egypt Today, illustrates the casual disregard some people have for squatters. Architects in Alexandria, Egypt's second largest city, lament the loss of archaeological sites and historic villas with gardens, which are fast being replaced by highrise apartment blocks. But they support the idea that inner-city slums (the unfortunate term of art for squatter settlements) have been 'removed.' What a casual word. As if that removal hasn't disrupted, uprooted, and evicted hundreds (perhaps thousands) of families, causing homelessness and misery. And this is a city where 30 percent of the residents are squatters. No one's against modernzation and beautification, even the poor. But the work should not go on at the expense of poor people. It should be done in partnership with them.

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