A COPTIC MOTHER FROM ZABALEEN: BY THE DUTCH PHOTOGRAPHER MARTIEN VAN ASSELDONK
Martien van Asseldonk is a Dutch man with a photographic hobby – he likes portrait photography. I find one of his portraits very interesting: Coptic mother from Zabaleen (taken in (26 January, 1986). The Zabaleen are poor Copts who fled hard life and persecution in Upper Egypt to Cairo where they resided at the Muqattam Mountain in the eastern side of Cairo. Many are engaged in the collecting and recycling waste, and hence the word ‘zabaleen زبالين’ – Arabic word for ‘garbage collectors’. Despite their poverty, they are devout Christians.
I find the photographic portrait very impressive. We don’t know the name of the beautiful Copt, but her face represents one of the multiple faces of Copts. Again I ask Coptic photographers: Why not photographically document Coptic faces and physiognomy?
One thing I would like to stress here: Coptic faces are faces of the Ancient Egyptians. See the Ancient Egyptians in the faces of the Copts!