Tannery in Fez & the Leather Makers

Amusing Planet website describes the work under the sun and in the stone vessels of the tanneries in Fez, Morocco, as follows:

”(…) a vast range of dyes and various liquids spread out like a tray of watercolors. Dozens of men, many standing waist deep in dyes, work under the hot sun tending to the hides that remain soaked in the vessels. The tanneries processes the hides of cows, sheep, goats and camels, turning them into high quality leather products such as bags, coats, shoes, and slippers. This is all achieved manually, without the need for modern machinery, and the process has barely changed since medieval times”
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The article proceeds with the naming of the soaking agents:
”..a mixture of cow urine, quicklime, water, and salt. This caustic mixture helps to break down the tough leather, loosen excess fat, flesh, and hair that remain on them. The hides are soaked for two to three days after which tanners scrap away excess hair fibers and fat in order to prepare the hides for dyeing. The hides are then soaked in another set of vats containing a mixture of water and pigeon poop. Pigeon poop contains ammonia that acts as softening agents that allows the hides to become malleable so they can absorb the dye. The tanner uses his bare feet to knead the hides for up to three hours to achieve the desired softness.”

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The odour is unbearable.
 Houses and buildings where people live, have their windows opened on the vapours of soaking agents and leather goods shop assistants just smell this, day after day. Yet, adorably kind.Workers breathe the unthinkable under the scorching sun, work barehand-barefeet in what becomes an ammonia solution and corrosive, skin bending, smoothing agents.
Unbearable is seeing kids on the stone vessels trying to learn the job.

The tanneries are abodes where life span can only shrink with consequent dreams undreamt.
One of the hardest and saddest places to cope with.

photos: Beatrice De Filippis

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Just another message from Yemen

‘Good morning.
We did not sleep last night from the noise of warplanes and rocket explosions..
Sanaa’s sky has become a hotbed for the alliance of evil aircraft and our land is the final destination of missiles.
This is a war of extermination. It is a really a disaster sent from heaven to all of us.
The ambulance cars have become like taxis, driving around in the streets of Sanaa, moving the wounded and dead bodies, from one site to the other. Hospitals and graves.
And digging graves has become a profitable industry and business.

You know, my Dear, the Alliance of evil these last days has been using,  in their air raids, a new kind of missile. Never used before. Never seen before.
We, somehow, know quite a bit about weapons (you know our history).
We never used it in our wars. It is different in the magnitude of the explosion and ability to destroy.
 
 
People in Yemen are being killed and destroyed with weapons, with hunger, disease and our poor country’s infrastructure is destroyed under the supervision of the United Nations, who are immoral international entrepreneurs at the end. Ours continues to be a forgotten war.
 The world’s richest countries forming the richest Coalition fighting and annihilating the poorest country in the world.

Before writing to you I went to the cemetery to pray on my Father’s tomb.
Can you see the hill on the background of the image? This hill is part of the Presidential Palace (residence of Ali Abdullah Saleh ). The squadrons of aircrafts bombarded it as there is a  mountain camp of the Presidential Guards and weapons storage.
It all happened after I left the grave, my Dear. A few minutes later

Take care, Dear. See you soon.
MN’

We all know the numbers of this war: for the wounded, the maimed, the hungry, the internally displaced, how many people have died in action. We have a pretty accurate idea of the number of civilians (far from the figures reported by the UN) killed. We have a very controversial databank comprising cases of new-born babies born with birth-defects caused by the war (horrifying).
We are even so smart we estimate how many will perish under the bites of famine.
What I do not know is if later, tomorrow, I will receive another message from my friend.
This war is not sparing anyone.

(picture sent by MN has been blurred and altered for security reasons)