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WATCH: He Has No Arms, Yet Became Egypt’s Most Inspiring Calligrapher

They call him Alexandria’s Miracle. But it is not his talent, his prolific technique, nor his success that grant him the title. The miracle is his personality, the strength with which he took one refusal after another only to fight harder and develop his craft.

Ahmed Hakim is 73 and has been living for the past 60 years without his arms or legs. He perfectly recalls when a tram ran over him at the age of 7 and his arms and leg were amputated; but there is no sadness in his expression: he made the absolute best of what he had.

“Three missing limbs means you can’t make it here!” they repeatedly told him as he applied to a rehabilitation center to learn a craft. “But I tried again and again until they let me join,” says Hakim, who worked his way up until he became not only one of Alexandria’s best known calligraphers, but also the supervisor of an Egyptian advertising company.

The video, produced by Mohamed Khalifa, narrates what is perhaps the century’s most thought-provoking consideration on unemployment. “It really upsets me to see a guy washing cars in the street, who is asking God for more. He should go there and fetch for a job. God tells us to do something and fetch for a job. Afterwards God will ask us how did we benefit from our hands, our legs, and our eyes; and you are just wandering in the streets aimlessly without a job?” 

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Valentina Primo

Journalist, globetrotter, and determined idealist. Since Valentina left her home country of Argentina, she has searched for ways to build bridges between cultures and foster dialogue. Her previous work in international organizations in Italy and Germany fed her passion for the world of development, while her 8-year journalistic experience in Argentina and Egypt increased her curiosity for everything that challenges the stereotype. She holds a BA in Journalism and a Masters in Peace Studies with a specialization in Human Rights.

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