Them & Us

The two camps were quite obvious: ‘them‘ and ‘us‘.

Them consisted of children playing bare-footed, clothes slightly grubby, young girls wearing over-sized earrings and handmade necklaces that reached down way past their flat chest. Dirt-stained faces and brown-stained teeth, with guys strutting around in ship-ships (flip-flops).

Us consisted of tweezer-perfected eyebrows, designer shades, degree-holders and bright smiles. Name-branded attire, some sort of grasp of the English language, and refusal for the kids to play with their’s.

The feast was amazing; it was an ensemble of rice, pastries, pizza, samboosa, cannelloni and shipsi. They looked on, as they knew they couldn’t get a share, and we didn’t even think to share. Their necks were stretched for a better view as they watched us eating from afar – just a few yards away, in reality.

Maybe that’s the way things are. Maybe that’s the way things have to be. Or is it?

The food was in abundance, and there were only 30 of us. There was more than enough to go around for them too; in actual fact, the leftovers could have been given to them, even if it was nothing but an afterthought. I’m sure it would’ve been accepted. But who am I to speak? I am the outsider, and what right does an outsider have to question the way of the people?

Nevertheless, the park isn’t for us alone, nor for them exclusively – it is for all: us, them, the birds and the insects too. Yet, right there, by the Nile that unites so much more than people, there was a clear sight of the two groups, each firm in their camp – on their side.

I guess… that’s the way things are and will be.

– The Londoner

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About LaYinka Sanni

Editor & Writing Coach -- "... connecting dots, one sentence at a time..."

Posted on March 22, 2011, in Ruminations about Cairo, Slice of Creativity, Thru The Londoner's eyes. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. this was really really deep.
    i didn’t like it when u categorized US and THEM .
    it is the social barrier that draws the transparent line between 2 different parties ,it is not because THEY are poorer ,it has alot of different prospectives such as (education, interests in life ,the way of talking …etc )
    my point is they mark themselves it is us who mark them .
    (they have ego enough for them to watch and STARE but nor to accept if we offered them the leftovers)

    i liked it and i enjoyed seeing things with your eyes .

    • Thank you for commenting. I wasn’t quiet for nothing… and it was just a note of my observation. I guess as an insider things are just ‘normal’… 3adi, ya3ni. But an outsider sees so much more, and that’s why I love people-watching.

      The us and them category was the only way to show the divide, I didn’t know any other way to illustrate it.

      It’s interesting what you say though… how there is so much more to the division than poverty, and education is a major indicator, I agree. We have class divisions in the UK too, but in parks, honestly, we’re all up in there together: the working and middle class. The kids mingle and if anything, learn about one another.

  2. Haha! Loved it. So well crafted, great idea, nice observation as usual. Try going to one of the posh clubs or Naadi’s next – like ours the Heliopolis. You will become them, regardless of who you are with, people will assume you are the nurse maid, nanny or call you “ya bint” like they did my Sudanese sister in law when they saw her with her white husband and child. Embarrassing.

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