Families of Tunis Village closed their handmade shops to protest the random demolishing of their workshops applied by security forces in order to build a police station, according to a Facebook post by prominent Egyptian artist Mohamed Abla, who owns the Middle East’s only caricature museum, which is located in the village.
Egypt’s most astonishing, breathtaking handmade pottery and home accessories come from Fayoum governorate’s small village of Tunis, southwest of Cairo. The charming scent of the village doesn’t only come from the greenery that dominates the place, but also from the fact that all its citizens have been carving beauty for a living over the past 35 years without any governmental support.
According to a local journalist who spoke to Daily News Egypt on condition of anonymity, several factories and workshops in which people were taught pottery were razed by forces from the Ministry of Interior; however, no residency areas were removed.
Locals told the journalist that they were previously informed by the government’s urge to legalise the conditions and they approved; however, no further actions were taken.
According to his post, Abla stated that “anger is taking over the citizens because of the random demolishing of people’s properties,” adding that for the past 35 years, the village had no unemployment whatsoever. The citizens didn’t receive any sort of governmental care or support, and they have failed to legalise their properties for 10 years now;yet that never stopped them from paying the government its rights, including electricity and taxes.
“How do you [the government] aim to support tourism and develop small societies while you wreck people’s efforts! People are boiling out of anger!” he added.
All of the workshops, exhibitions, and museums in the village were shut down as an act of refusing the decision that citizens considered a form of “invasion” to the peaceful atmosphere in which residents live.
Amgad Amer, an expert on local development affairs, stated that from the government’s point of view, the factory’s owners are considered occupying the lands owned by the state.
As Amer explained to Daily News Egypt,the razing decision is supposedly put to demolish all of the “vacant buildings” in order to use the land.
However, he saw no reason for removing the already used factories and workshops.
In similar cases, the government usually offered residents the ability to legalise their properties from which they make a living, he said.
The village has 250 families, all of whom inherited the work of pottery from their ancestors. Their pottery attracts tourists from all over the world, especially with the workshops in which people are taught pottery.