Video: How can we fit the world into folders?

During a stroll through the Cairo International Book Fair’s used books section, we came across Essam Abou al-Hamd, a bookseller from Nabi Daniel Street, the largest second-hand books market in Alexandria. But Abou al-Hamd wasn’t selling books, and nor is he just a bookseller.

The founder of an archive of academic journals, he spends most of his days snipping articles out of periodicals to add to his massive collection, which spans a multitude of eras, topics and historical figures. He has been doing this for years, by himself, without support from any government or private institution.

Does Abou al-Hamd’s archive encompass the whole world? Likely not, but that is what he aspires to. Here is a video of our brief meeting with this extraordinary man. (Remember to click the subtitles on for English.)

Essam Abou al-Hamd can be reached on 01118525417.

Lara El Gibaly 
Nael El Toukhy 
Rowan El Shimi 

You have a right to access accurate information, be stimulated by innovative and nuanced reporting, and be moved by compelling storytelling.

Subscribe now to become part of the growing community of members who help us maintain our editorial independence.
Know more

Join us

Your support is the only way to ensure independent,
progressive journalism