Pigs, Fear and Civilization in Cairo - the Zabaleen

Updated Sep 21, 2009

Ignore the delicate relationships involved in the well-functioning hive of a modern city and, well, garbage happens.

The market of solutions initially provided an answer to Cairo’s garbage problems. Coptic Christians living on the outskirts of Cairo, called “Zabaleen”, went door to door with donkey carts, collecting garbage cheaply. They sorted it into what they could recycle for cash and what could be recycled through their “unclean” pigs. Because efficiency in this process was the key to making a living, they provided efficiencies only dreamed of by city planners:

“They have created what is arguably one of the world’s most efficient resource-recovery and waste-recycling systems,” Wael Salah Fahmi, professor of architecture and urban design at Helwan University in Cairo, wrote in a 2005 study. ~ From Cairo’s trash, a model of recycling

But the Zabaleen no longer work the streets of Cairo, which overflows with trash. Why? Other people’s unreasonable fear. When the first swine flu case turned up this spring, the government killed all the pigs in Egypt. Now, a larger worry looms. Filth and rats are everywhere.

Unreasonable fear fanned by the lying lunatics in government, if you remember, drove us into war in Iraq, where the remnants of the birthplace of civilization are disappearing as I type. Can we take a deep breath and consider how quickly fear is making a shambles of the earth? The fear of flu?

Here’s a map of the outbreak.

Maybe the map tells us that we should have a healthy bit of fear reserved for the way pigs are raised in America and for Americans—and for the use of prophylactic antibiotics in animal feed:

Where has your bacon been? If you don’t know, my best advice is to avoid it and look for local pig farmers whose practices are sustainable and, even more important, visible. ~ Pig flu infects humans: More evidence against confined feeding operations?

Fooling with natures wise ways doesn’t often work out in the end.

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