Varouj is a middle-aged jeweler who works in Cairo’s legendary souq Khan El Khalili. Last weekend, as he was getting some bones and cheap meat for his dog, he noticed a man in a dirty galabiyya was watching him closely.
The man, seemingly a bawab from the area, bought 250 grams of the cheapest minced meat and left. But as Varouj was leaving the shop, he found the poor man waiting at the corner. “I want to tell you something”, he said. “But I don’t want you to turn me down”.
To Varouj’s surprise, the man was not there to beg but to present an unlikely offer. “I see what you, the Syrian people, go through these days. So please take this meat, and I will buy for myself again later”.
That moment, the jeweler knew exactly what was going on through the man’s mind: because he had a different accent, he’d assumed that Varouj was a Syrian refugee, and was buying that kind of meat to feed his family and not a dog.
In fact, Varouj is a Lebanese businessman who moved to Egypt a year after the July War broke out in 2006. “Thank you. You are so kind, but I’m not a refugee. Do you have an operating fridge at home?” he asked, as he held his hand to lead him back to the butcher and bought him enough meat for his family for the Holy Month of Ramadan.
“I wouldn’t have given him money if he was a beggar, because the Armenian Church strictly forbids any kind of begging – he told BarakaBits. “But just because that man and his family deserved to have a worry-free and a care-free Ramadan; and to reassure him that I can feed my family”.
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